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Solving Electrical Problems
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Pelican Technical Article:

Solving Electrical Problems

Patrick Van Asbroeck


4-5 hours






DVOM, flathead screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, impact screwdriver, solder gun, soldering iron

Applicable Models:

Porsche 912 (1965-69)

Parts Required:

Various connectors, or perhaps a voltage regulator, or battery, etc., depending upon what the troubleshooting reveals

Performance Gain:

A 912 without electrical issues that starts and runs like it's a new car

Complementary Modification:

Replace the battery


Electrical problems can be very difficult to diagnose.    Bad 912 starter, dim lights?... Let us know of electrical problems you've encountered in your 912 and how you solved them.  Also suggestions for electrical upgrades like electronic regulators, fuel pumps, alternators, ignitions etc...

I had my share of electrical problems to solve...

The battery was always a bit low at 12.5V. I replaced the battery. No improvement.

Then I checked the dynamo:

1. remove both wires on the dynamo, check the brushes and their springs.

2. make a link between both electrical studs on the dynamo

3. connect a voltage meter between the link and chassis

4. run the engine. The voltmeter should indicate a voltage well above 14V. If I remember right it went up to 20V. If it doesn't get to this voltage then maybe the field coil is death.

To check:

5. Measure the resistance between the DF stud (field contact) and chassis. (link removed) I measured 6 ohms. Replace the coil if you measure a too high resistance.

It's also possible the field became demagitized or reversed. To get the field right again leave the link in place and make momentarily a contact between the link and the plus from the battery. The dynamo will now work as motor AND should rotate CW. If it rotates CCW you need to swap the field wires.

Field coils are easily replaced once you get their mounting screws loose with an impact screwdriver

Note I got the VW style Bosch dynamo as fitted to late 912s. Partnumber 0101 302 111. (14V 30A 420W)

The dynamo was OK.

Then I checked the regulator. The regulator was not original, had no brand name on it, was black painted and looked identical to the original Bosch one. It was only marked "made in USA". The field resistor was 8 ohms.

It's easy to check the regulator.

1. refit the wires to the dynamo from the previous test

2. remove the BIG crimp connector (B+) on the regulator. This wire goes straight to the battery so make sure it doesn't touch anything while loose.

3. Connect a voltmeter to this B+

4. Run the engine. You should measure a voltage around 14,5V regardless of RPM.

If not replace it. It's not worth trying to adjust these regulators. They are not expensive around 50$. Part number 0 190 350 068. The Bosch field resistor is only 2 ohms!

Always note your dynamo type for the Bosch guys so they can give you the correct regulator.

The Bosch technician told me these mechanical regulators don't last any longer then 50000 km.

The battery charge was OK now.

The first time I drove with this new regulator it became quite hot! This was normal as we had to charge the battery from a low 12,5V. Charge current must have been high.BUT still she wouldn't start as should be. At first try that is!

The problem was found in a bad contact (what else?) in the grey connectors under the dashboard. About 1V loss! It can make a difference. I fitted a wire straight from the fuse panel to the key switch passing the grey connector. Problem solved, finally...

One way to find bad contacts in the ignition circuit from battery to ignition coil:

-disconnect the battery + wire and connect an 12V , 1A power supply instead to the + wire. Your car is now fed by the power supply. An old PC power supply is just fine for this. Don't use anything else but a 12V supply or you risk burning a few things!

-disconnect the ignition coil's red wire and fit a 15 ohm 5watt resistor between the red wire and chassis. These resistors are cheap and availeble at any electronic part shop. Solder a wire at each side of the resistor with a crocodile connector to ease installation.

-take a voltmeter. Make one 5 meter long test wire. Fit this wire between the + of the 12V power supply and the + input of your multimeter. With another test wire fitted to the -input on your voltmeter we now measure each point in the chain and can see the actual voltage loss they cause. The 5 meter wire makes it easy to go to any point around the car you wanna check. For the ignition circuit you will pass the fuse panel, ignition switch and grey connectors under the dash board. You should get about all of the supply voltage to the + wire from the ignition coil. I wouldn't accept more then 0,5V total loss measured between the battery+ and the + wire at the coil.

This technique can be used to fault find ANY circuit in your Porsche.

To find bad contacts, current must flow through it to create a voltage drop. No current, no voltage drop. Just like water flowing through a tube. This method works better then measuring the actual resistance.

I like the Fluke 10 series meters for this work. Not too expensive and more then accurate enough for this task.

Also ALWAYS solder all crimp connectors. I've seen too many bad contacts on crimped connectors! I cut off the plastic from the crimp connectors, then make the soldering and put a heat shrink or rubber sleeve around it. Frequently the solder will not flow nicely on the copper of the wire because it's oxidized. If the copper has a green coating on it then that's the oxidize. Its normal to have this when copper comes in contact with moisture but luckily it doesn't affect the electrical conduction. It only makes soldering difficult. To get rid of it cut off an inch or so and strip it, if your lucky you'll get back to nice clean copper. Mostly this isn't the case. What else can we expect if we got the original sixties wiring in place. File off the oxidize to get rid of it.

On the ignition coil the connectors can fall off as they hang upside-down. To prevent this I use crimp connectors with a push-in lock inside them. Don't know their part number.

The connectors for the reverse gear switch on the gearbox were another problem. The AMP ones are just too small in diameter to fit right. Instead I found the connectors used on LUCAS regulators the right ones. These regulators were used on most of the English motorcycles in the fifties.

The mechanical ignition points were replaced by a Petronix unit part number 1847V. It works fine and is easily installed.

The spark plug cables (copper) were replaced by resistive ones from SUPERLEAD part number 1KS490S. Actually this is the set for a VW. The plugs were changed to BOSCH. I did this on the advice from the local dyno-man and he is good! Three of the first four cars arriving in a Belgian 24 hours race were tuned by him. Say no more...

The resistive spark plug cables help to get a higher voltage which helps to prevent plug fouling. The only problem with them are the spark plug connectors. They are DIFFICULT to pull off . I cut them off and replaced them with the bakelite Porsche style ones. Works fine.

The only spark plugs the dynoman found worth using are Bosch and NGK.

While on ignition, check the timing marks on your pulley! I had a pulley (VW?) where only the OT mark was correct! I filed marks every 5 degrees to the right-hand side of the OT with a degree rule.

The clock still worked but ran too slow. They are adjustable from the backside. You must remove them to get to the adjustment screw but one advice: DON'T pull off the supply connector without supporting the white plastic cover! The clock is fitted on three anti-vibration rubbers with E-type circlips. They can slip off if you pull too hard. Then the circlip falls in the clock housing and can't be removed without taking off the clock front panel. This front panel is "crimped " onto the clock body which makes is VERY hard to remove. Something I don't wanna do yet as I'm afraid of destroying it. Instead I installed a quartz clock found at a Porsche autojumble. It looks identical except it has quartz written on it. This clock is always on time.

Being a technician I'd like to solve technical problems but my 912 sure has given me more then enough things to think about... Hopefully my experiences can save you 912ers some search time.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Ricardito Comments: I NEED a wiring diagram for my 1969 912. Ron's large color one would be perfect. Dan's would also work. Please email landeira@colorado.edu for payment and I'll respond immediately.
April 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have any wiring for it.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question. - Nick at Pelican Parts
johnnylo Comments: I need wiring diagram for 1968 Porsche 912 if anyone has it it would be very helpful
November 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have one.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Jorge Comments: Where are the relay located in my 1965 porsche 912, I can only find a three prone flasher under my hood
September 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don;t have info that far back.
I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
dan Comments: here's the diagram, I think
oops, file too large to attach, just e-mail me and we'll get you a picture by snail mail.
February 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up, this diagram will be helpful. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dan Comments: I just realized there is no way for anyone to contact me about the wiring diagram for the 1969 Porsche 912... go to the 912bbs.org
February 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks Dan - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Pictic Comments: How can I get a copy of Dan's 26 Jan post 912 wiring diagram??
February 1, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Let's see if he replies with an email address for you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dan Comments: I have a wiring diagram, color, large, laminated
January 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Pictic Comments: I desperately need a color wiring map/diagram for 68 912 ignition switch 22715 with spades, NOT bullet connections. There are 11 posts/spades and seven wires. Posts are numbered 30,15,54,50 and Po counter closkwise. Switch no longer available so want to adapt a 356A,B,C bullet connector switch. PHOTO WELCOME!
January 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See Dan's reply above. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ron Comments: I can supply a full color wiring diagram for the 1969 912 or all previous 912's, 1965-1968. Diagram measures 22" x 34" and is easy to read and can be posted on your garage wall for easy referance.
January 14, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
jeff Comments: need wiring diagram for my 1969 - 912 for ignition switch took it out to make a key i lost help!
February 6, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have one to share. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
February 6, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Tom Comments: I can't find a high beam relay for my '66 912. If you have a clue on where to find an oem type or what type works well in place of the original, drop me a line. Thanks much.
December 22, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The early cars were a bit different than the later ones, but our sales dept (1-888-280-7799) should be able to advise you on what will work with your car. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Erik Comments: I am restoring a 1969 - 912 - vin 129021847, and really need an authentic wiring diagram for that car. Can you provide one or tell me how to get one?
January 5, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Cantact one of our parts specialist at 888 280 7799 and they can help you get the repair manual with wiring that you need. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  

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