Why we’re converting our Sprite from a generator to an alternator

Bugeye Sprites came with a 12-volt, 22-amp Lucas dynamo–called a generator in America. While many restorers elect to retain the period-correct generator, we had already made changes to our Bugeye to improve operability and performance, so we weren’t as concerned about remaining authentic. 

We also wanted a bit more amperage to power the inevitable GPS, cell phone, and other electronic devices we all use today. Finally, adding the supercharger created a belt drive change, and Moss Motors offered a 36-amp Lucas alternator conversion kit that included the correct pulley and belt to accompany our supercharger. We were sold. 

The Moss kit came with everything we needed to mount the alternator. We elected to do the install while the engine was still out of the car. 

We enlisted the help of long-time friend and supporter Rennie Bryant who is no stranger to Bugeyes and alternator conversions.

Rennie laid all the parts out on the bench to make sure everything was on-hand, and then proceeded with the installation. The Moss Motors installation manual contains many pictures, and the instructions are easy to follow. Rennie had the alternator mounted in minutes. 

Developing our own diagram from the Moss Motors installation instructions made the wiring much easier. We shared our diagram with Moss Motors technical support, and they were responsive and knowledgeable.

A few days later, we had the engine in the car, and we could proceed with the wiring. The Moss-provided wiring diagrams and pictures are helpful, but we found it useful to create a modified version of the factory wiring diagram because in addition to eliminating the “generator control box” (aka voltage regulator), we were adding additional fuses and relays as well as electronic ignition. 

By spending some time combining the information in the Moss installation guide with the diagram, we were able to create a sub-harness for the alternator connection that tied seamlessly into our chassis harness and new fuse block. More about that in an upcoming installment.   

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wspohn UltraDork
2/15/24 11:03 a.m.

If you like the original vintage look, you can also buy alternators that look like the original generators, while still providing less drag and more electrical output.

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