From the Steiner Tech Support line: 6 Volt to 12 Volt Conversion FAQs
Here are some of the most frequent questions we get about 12 volt conversions here at Steiner Tractor Parts. If you’re thinking about making the switch, here are some good tips:
- Why convert from a 6 volt to a 12 volt system? There are a few advantages to a 12 volt system – tractors that operate on 12 volts start faster and have brighter headlights. A 12 volt battery lasts longer than a 6 volt, and you can jump-start a 12 volt tractor with an ordinary vehicle. Switching to an alternator eliminates the need for a generator and voltage regulator, giving you a more reliable charging system.
- Is it a difficult project? Making the conversion isn’t incredibly difficult, but it’s not a project for a beginner, either. I would rate it as a moderate difficulty. In addition to basic mechanical skills, you also need to know the basics of electrical wiring. If you have the tools and knowledge to change a light fixture in your home (including stripping wires and using stake-ons properly), you’re ready.
- What parts do I need? A standard conversion will require an alternator, alternator bracket, battery, coil, wiring harness, and amp gauge. Replace the existing generator and voltage regulator with the alternator, and swap out the old battery, coil, wiring harness, and amp gauge with the new.
- When doing a 12 volt conversion, do I need a 12 volt starter? In my opinion, no. While some starter shops will sell you a “specially wound 12 volt starter” in my opinion there’s no reason or a big enough difference to warrant this expense. Your original (or replacement) 6 volt starter will function well on a 12 volt system.
- Do I have to change the wiring? Yes. Your old wiring will be set up for a field, an armature, voltage regulator, etc. Using these existing wires could be a fire hazard. Replace your wiring harness with a new one specific to your tractor to have a cleaner look and safer operation.
- Do I need to change the coil? Yes. The 12 volt coil upgrade is very important. I’ve seen some people try to place a resistor in front of their 6 volt coil–not a good idea. The resistor won’t suffice.
- When I do the 12 volt conversion, do I keep the voltage regulator? No. The voltage regulator needs to be removed when putting an alternator on.
- Can I just install an 8 volt battery on my 6 volt system? Yes you can. No changes are required. Many people choose this option.
Do you have videos available? Yes I do! If you are converting a Farmall tractor, you’re in luck! Here’s a link to a video I made on a Farmall tractor. Even though the demonstration model is a Farmall, though, the basic techniques are similar across all makes and models. If you’re looking for help on a different tractor, give a shout in the comments! I’m always happy to hear video ideas.