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Classic Truck Projects Section

What Is a One-Wire Alternator?
General Application

Looking like any ordinary two-wire alternator, the one wire alternator has a self-energizing internal voltage regulator that eliminates the wire to the ignition.

OK, this sounds like the silliest question since "How many cylinders does a V8 have?" Maybe it is, but we're going to tell you anyway. A one-wire alternator is simply an alternator with a self-energizing voltage regulator inside. Instead of having to run two wires--one to the positive battery terminal and one to the ignition--the one-wire alternator needs only the wire to the the battery. That gives you two advantages: it reduces engine compartment clutter by eliminating the ignition wire, and it gives you one less wire to trace if something goes wrong with your charging system

How Do You Install a One-Wire Alternator?

Installing a one-wire alternator is a very simple procedure. Just remove the old alternator, bolt on the new one-wire, then hook up just the wire to the battery and your done. There are two ways to run the wire: directly to the battery, or to a relay (such as a remote starter relay). Illustrations A and B show you the schematics for each.

You guys who have older cars with external-regulator alternators will have extra wires dangling. No problem--just unplug the wires or remove them.

You can use a voltmeter or a ammeter with a one wire setup.