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Old 02-14-2014, 10:46 PM   #31
SPEIRMOOR
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My Norton Commando is Positive ground. If you have a battery tender pigtail with this setup ensure you have the plug cap on when not in use. Otherwise it may short out if it touches the engine, Bare part of frame etc.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:59 PM   #32
victor441
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Originally Posted by GSWayne View Post
Anybody know why they switched to negative ground? A positive ground system will reduce the corrosion if the wiring gets wet.
That is only the case when conductors literally contact the earth/ground...i.e. the telephone system runs on 48V positive ground, the polarity makes no difference corrosion wise on a vehicle. Vehicles were probably positive ground in the early days as a carryover from the standard in telegraph and telephone systems.

http://lyle.smu.edu/~levine/ee8320/positiveground.pdf

victor441 screwed with this post 02-14-2014 at 11:05 PM
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:49 PM   #33
DC2wheels
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Many UK automotive applications were pos.(+) ground. My brother's Triumph motorcycle is + ground....Joe Lucas!!!??!!
Lucas didn't quit producing crap when they went to 12V.

I had a '73 Land Rover Series IIa. Nice truck. Absolute primitive electrics. Ended up replacing many of the connections and most of the components.

Prince of Darkness indeed.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:23 PM   #34
HD Steve
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Positive Earth

60 Jag Mark II Sedan. Bought it in college. What was I thinking??

Positive Earth and Lucas electronics....Lucas, the prince of darkness.

Wired and isolated a tape deck...had to have tunes. Hit a bump and replace the fuse. Bought em by the case.
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Old 02-18-2014, 09:15 PM   #35
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the ground was made negative because the other way makes the frame an anode.... as in sacrificial anode. good for the wires.... ya, probably. bad for the frame though. many (if not most) positive ground Brit machines had separate wires to carry the ground side of the circuit because using the structure to carry the current caused corrosion
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:50 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Beezer View Post
the ground was made negative because the other way makes the frame an anode.... as in sacrificial anode. good for the wires.... ya, probably. bad for the frame though. many (if not most) positive ground Brit machines had separate wires to carry the ground side of the circuit because using the structure to carry the current caused corrosion
The Brits went to positive ground in the mid-1930s for a couple of reasons. One was that if the body of the spark plug was positive, it required less voltage to fire it. The other was to reduce corrosion at the positive battery terminal. This is from several British auto engineering texts that I have in my library.

Ford used positive ground until they went to 12 volt systems in the mid-1950s.

I worked in import car shops for a number of years, and can't recall anything but ground return systems that used the chassis. Some things needed to be bonded together for various reasons like rubber motor mounts, and generator-to-regulator wiring, but that was the extent of it. Headlights were just grounded to the sheet metal nearby, as were tail lights.
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:02 PM   #37
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after looking at posts here and in other places I see there is a lot of difference of opinion. maybe I'm wrong. my beliefs are based on my experience. when I was old enough to mess around with fixing cars, etc, in the 60's my neighbor across the ally was running a small garage. he was a pro mechanic, retired from working on school buses. he's the guy that told me about positive ground problems they had had with older rigs that were pos ground. I confirmed that in my own mind with a 48 GMC pickup I owned for a while. Between me and my brothers, we had half a dozen throughout the late 60's and 70's. mostly they were converted straight off. maybe not required? anyway, maybe in a perfect world where there is zero resistance connections there is no difference.... and there seems to be a lot of posting to that effect, but I have also done more than a bit of plating, etching, and electrochemical cleaning. in every case, whatever is on the plus side of the power source gives up material. no question on that one. I also owned at least a dozen Brit bikes over the years from '68 to 2006.... all of them had a ground wire system in parallel to the frame (none were newer than '73)
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:09 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Beezer View Post
after looking at posts here and in other places I see there is a lot of difference of opinion. maybe I'm wrong. my beliefs are based on my experience. when I was old enough to mess around with fixing cars, etc, in the 60's my neighbor across the ally was running a small garage. he was a pro mechanic, retired from working on school buses. he's the guy that told me about positive ground problems they had had with older rigs that were pos ground. I confirmed that in my own mind with a 48 GMC pickup I owned for a while. Between me and my brothers, we had half a dozen throughout the late 60's and 70's. mostly they were converted straight off. maybe not required? anyway, maybe in a perfect world where there is zero resistance connections there is no difference.... and there seems to be a lot of posting to that effect, but I have also done more than a bit of plating, etching, and electrochemical cleaning. in every case, whatever is on the plus side of the power source gives up material. no question on that one. I also owned at least a dozen Brit bikes over the years from '68 to 2006.... all of them had a ground wire system in parallel to the frame (none were newer than '73)
There's a reason to run a ground wire to the headlight on those bikes. It's because it's not a good idea to run current through the ball bearings of the steering head. Some had the zener diode for the charging circuit on the lower triple clamp as well, which meant that there could be 10 amps load on that wire. The tail and stoplight, however, didn't have a separate ground wire.
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Old 02-20-2014, 01:08 AM   #39
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always nice to post stuff like that for those that don't know. bikes may be a hobby for me, but I also have 40 years as an aircraft mechanic, so pretty much aware of things like that. whatever.... point is, you can't deny the physics of what happens when everything is cathodic to a structure that is a large anode. it's just plain harder to control corrosion
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