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Thread: B&C LR3C-14 voltage regulator Failures?

  1. #1
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    B&C LR3C-14 voltage regulator Failures?

    Sunday evening as I turned downwind at twilight with everything turned on including all the lights on, LED pulse lights, (20 amp load on my B&C 40 amp alternator), the 5 amp P&B field circuit breaker popped, the alternator went off line and the low voltage light started to flash. I pushed the CB back in but it popped twice more. I landed and put the plane away. Since then I found this very similar incident on the VANs RV site.
    http://www.vansairforce.com/communit...d.php?t=110131
    I have 324 hrs, this RV had 375 hrs before the B&C voltage regulator failed.
    Does anyone out there have a similar story? B&C seems to think the P&B circuit breaker is at fault or something else in the wiring. I will go through their trouble shooting routine but it seems most likely that the voltage regulator failed.

  2. #2
    stewartb's Avatar
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    What type of light pulser? Try turning the pulse lights off and see if that fixes it.

  3. #3
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    bad breaker? maybe, (and that Van's guy FAILED to install per big warning in install directions!)

    but i bet you have an "overvolt" conditioning happening.. B&C uses a "crowbar" design to trip the field breaker(like throwing a crow bar across terminals to QUICKLY kill the field before damaging avionics)

    your regulator is operating properly, keep reseting that breaker and ya might fry a radio, did i mention shut the expensive stuff off till it's figured out?

    figure out why it thinks it needs to put out to many volts..

    bad ground/connection to/at buss or battery reg terminals 3 or 7, big load/short coming on and offline, wire chafe, dead/shorted cell in battery...

    google aero electric b&c crowbar
    Last edited by mike mcs repair; 11-10-2014 at 11:49 PM.

  4. #4

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    Check all the crimps. I had field breaker pop intermittently for past few years, could not find problem. Turned out to be bad crimp at alternator field wire.
    DENNY

  5. #5
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I maintain several and have not had any issues.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I maintain several and have not had any issues.
    I've had similar, though intermittent, experiences with mine. It hasn't happened in awhile, but somewhere around the 800-hour mark, the CB would occasionally pop and it seemed to happen in conjunction with the under-seat battery reaching a fully charged condition---it wouldn't happen until 30 minutes after starting. I initially suspected that oil residue might have contaminated something as I do have a fair amount seepage out the front main seal. After reading the B&C Troubleshooting info, I decided it must be a poor connection somewhere---which can be tough to isolate. It hasn't happened for the last 30 hours or so, so I haven't dug any deeper.

  7. #7
    nanook's Avatar
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    Make sure the regulator has a good ground...

  8. #8
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Greg Jones, the General Manager @ B&C, has been very helpful advising & offering help. I will go through the troubleshooting procedure hopefully today.

  9. #9
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Not a solution or answer to your problem, Darrell, but I'd highly suggest not resetting a tripped circuit breaker more than once. If you reset it, and it trips, don't go there again. As Mike noted above, it might get really expensive.

    MTV

  10. #10
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Yes, I see the issue. I was trying to shut off stuff then resetting the CB but not a good policy.
    And on further review, it is not a good idea to troubleshoot any non life threatening issue while setting up to land.
    Last edited by Darrel Starr; 11-11-2014 at 12:16 PM.

  11. #11
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Ditto what Mike said. Connections are super critical for the sensor circuits of this reg.

    Get a copy of the wiring diagram off B&C's website. Make sure the reg and alternator are physically connected exactly like the diagram shows. Some guys used to jumper the sense terminal (#3) to places like terminal #6 instead of the bus bar. In some conditions this can spoof the sense circuit, so insure that terminal #3 is actually connected to the bus bar through a breaker or fuse.

    The ground at terminal #7 is also sensitive. I like to run that wire all the way to the case on the alternator. That insures that they are both at the same ground potential.

    You can run the aircraft with a digital volt meter on the bus, so you can observe what is actually occurring when the breaker pops.

    Let us know what you find.

    Web

  12. #12
    DW's Avatar
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    Darrel I had my voltage regulator go out on me, I have the B&C 8 amp alternator what I found the cause to be was when I bolted it to the firewall I bolted through the fire blanket which caused it to overheat.... it needs a heat sink so i bought a new reg. and I built a stand of and have had no problems so far. That all happend at about 380 some hours.

  13. #13
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Email to Greg Jones at B&C

    Greg, I just ran through the 6 step troubleshooting guide. My results are recorded below and I believe they all "pass". So I am assuming my next step is to replace the circuit breaker right? If I send back my voltage regulator, can you run it through more thorough checks -- just to make sure?

    1. Resistance from battery to Pin 7: 0.2 ohms, from battery to case: 0.2 ohms
    2. Bus voltage: 11.6 volts, Pin 3 voltage: 11.8 volts
    3. Pin 6 voltage: 11.5 volts
    4. Pin 4 voltage: 10.25 volts
    5. Field terminal voltage: 10.3 volts, Alternator field resistance: 3.7 ohms
    6. Alternator "B" lead voltage: 11.7 volts

    I included a picture of my circuit breaker panel so you can see why I don't want to change anything -- I think I will cut apart the current 5 amp P&B breaker to see if I can see any damage. Then I will install a new one and just plan to install a new one every 100 hrs (2 yrs) or so.
    Last edited by Darrel Starr; 11-11-2014 at 09:58 PM.

  14. #14
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    ..
    2. Bus voltage: 11.6 volts, ...

    low... will battery take a charge to full 12.6 and keep it? if not alternator works like hell to try to charge it to a level it cannot get to(bad or (partially?)shorting cell), and trips breaker...

  15. #15
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Will put a charger on it. Made no effort to charge it after it picked up the load on downwind. An Odyssey PC680 5yrs old.

  16. #16

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    I would still look at every crimp. Push pull on the wire of EVERY crimp. Mine was hard to spot but it was there once I saw it.
    DENNY

  17. #17
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Denny, will do.

  18. #18
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    The 5 amp B&P Circuit Breaker has a "Weld Berry" on it. So is this the "Cause" or a "Result"? I also have sent the Regulator back to B&C for further tests, thanks to the graciousness of the B&C General Manager, Greg Jones.
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  19. #19
    cruiser's Avatar
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    Darrel, Did you find any parts floating around in that CB? On this cutaway of the CB, on the left hand end of the bi-metallic strip, the arm that goes up and under the piece that is epoxied is missing from your CB. Is it's function to hold the CB closed? Perhaps the arcing occurred during your attempted resets and that piece was not there to solidly hold the CB closed? Thanks to Bob Nuckolls of Aero Electric Connection for the cutaway. Jim
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  20. #20
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    I will turn it over & see if anything falls out. The cutaway you have is also published in Wikipedia with both open & closed views. It is the toggle switch version of the P&B circuit breaker so there are a few different parts on the left side.

  21. #21
    cruiser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    I will turn it over & see if anything falls out. The cutaway you have is also published in Wikipedia with both open & closed views. It is the toggle switch version of the P&B circuit breaker so there are a few different parts on the left side.
    I did not notice that my pic is the other style CB, in studying how they work that would account for the difference.

  22. #22

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    Ditto what Mike said. If the battery is faulty/low the system will work too hard to try to replenish the voltage and over work the regulator. What was the volt/ amp meter reading when it went off line? I would bring the battery all the way up and check.

  23. #23
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Will do

  24. #24
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Charged the SBS J16 (PC680) battery for a while. It quickly came up to 12.6 volts. Took it to "Batteries +" store where they recorded a cranking amps of 228 vs a Spec of 170. They then put a 100 amp load on it -- it held at 10 volts for at least 10 seconds so it passed that test also -- the battery is OK.

  25. #25
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    .... the battery is OK.
    the battery MIGHT be OK then....at moment/position when tested..

    Intermittent/Odd/gremlin stuff could still be the issue... broken/loose/shorting plate... ect....

  26. #26
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Still a possibility

  27. #27
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    Still a possibility
    yup..

  28. #28
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Wayne (Flybynite) just walked into the hangar, picked up a toothpick and wiped the "weld berry" off the triangular piece inside the breaker -- it actually was a glob of grease. So with that new information, we can find nothing wrong with the breaker. B&C gets the regulator today to test.
    Last edited by Darrel Starr; 11-17-2014 at 03:33 PM.

  29. #29
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Greg Jones at B&C reported yesterday that the regulator failed the incoming bench test (would not OV).
    They replaced a transistor and a diode and it then passed the digital bench test. It ran on the extended bench test for a while and now is being shipped back. Greg at B&C has been very responsive to this problem and repaired the regulator at no charge.
    Last edited by Darrel Starr; 11-18-2014 at 02:03 PM.

  30. #30
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    Greg Jones at B&C reported yesterday that the regulator failed the incoming bench test (would not OV).
    meaning??? you had an OV condition(for another reason), and it was not crowbarring ????

    that sounds like you are not out of the woods yet then.... keep the expensive stuff turned off.....(an alternator will HAPPILY put out 1000+ volts when fubar happens... thats what the normally separate OV protection is for, but B&C's is contained in the regulator housing..)
    Last edited by mike mcs repair; 11-18-2014 at 08:41 PM.

  31. #31
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Darrel
    Did you verify the physical connections of the reg wiring? Each wire securely terminated and connected to the proper component? While assumptions are dangerous, I'm assuming that the transistor and diode were in the field circuit, as the field breaker was popping. If so, this means that 'something' caused excessive current through the field breaker. You need to verify that the low voltage light and the sense circuit (#3) are connected to the bus, through a fuse/breaker and NOT jumpered to the field circuit (#6) as some have done in the past. If they are connected as per the B&C diagram, you need to check for anything that could short that wire, even intermittently. Same for the alternator field wire (#4). If any of your reg wires are not connected correctly, sort them out and verify BEFORE you put power to them. Then top charge the battery, usually slow charge (2 amps) overnight. With a good battery and good wiring, pull your alternator output and field breakers and open the sense/low volt light circuit. Connect a digital voltmeter to the bus and turn on the master. Close the sense/low voltage circuit. The light will begin to flash if the voltage is 12.5 volts or less. Verify this with the digital meter. You can pull the voltage down a bit by turning on the landing lights. Then close the output breaker, then the field breaker. Note all your voltages as you did previously for B&C. If there are no issues, open the field breaker and start the engine. Note your bus voltage and close the field breaker. The idea voltage for a 12 volt charging system is 14.2 volts. B&C states that you should see 14 to 14.4 volts. You may have to come up off from idle to see this but it should reach 14 volts without having to do a full power check, lol. While it's possible that the transistor gave out due to resetting the breaker, I still suspect wiring issues or a bad connection in the reg wiring.

    Let us know what you find.

    Web

  32. #32
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    ..I'm assuming that the transistor and diode were in the field circuit, as the field breaker was popping....
    Web
    No,

    the 2 amp breaker is what the crowbar pops if it detects an OV condition... (when it is working properly, to protect you)

    but for him, his 5 amp to field winding/breaker is what was popping, because the crowbar didn't shut regulator/field power down when the over volt condition had/was occurring ...

    he has wire/dead cell issue...

  33. #33
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    I will let you all know how it turns out. Just remember this circuit worked perfectly for 324 hrs and the guy I mentioned with an RV7 had an almost identical regulator failure at 375 hrs -- you know, sometimes REGULATORS FAIL! The battery is in perfect condition.
    I will keep the radio off to start with when I power it up later this week. Stay tuned.

  34. #34
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    ..
    I will keep the radio off to start with when I power it up later this week. Stay tuned.
    no, keep the radio off till you fix the root problem... unless you like frying radios $$$

  35. #35
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    mike, what is your theory of the root problem?

  36. #36
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    mike, what is your theory of the root problem?
    like i said in previous post...

    you HAD AN OVERVOLT condition happen, the OVERVOLT protection built into regulator FAILED to Kill alternator field wire voltage off... finally the field breaker had to pop because it was WAY past it's never attainable 5 amp current(in normal/properly functioning)

  37. #37
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    And the overvoltage came from ...... ?

    B&C guys are not further speculating on a "root" cause

    Will let you know how it turns out. Also I am trying to reach the RV-7 guy. Jeff Blumfield, to see if he has in the last 9 months (since he failed an LR3C-14) experienced any more problems.
    Last edited by Darrel Starr; 11-18-2014 at 10:42 PM.

  38. #38
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    And the overvoltage came from ......
    a false low voltage reading....

    I can lead a horse to water but i can NOT MAKE AN EDUCATED ENGINEER THINK!!!!!

  39. #39
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Yes we are all insufferable and incorrigible to the very end.

  40. #40
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    a false low voltage reading....

    I can lead a horse to water but i can NOT MAKE AN EDUCATED ENGINEER THINK!!!!!
    it's all basic simple "math"... don't try to make it something more...

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