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So, I just bought a 68 Nova a few weeks ago, been driving it a little bit with a 20 day plate. I noticed a little dimming in the lights and dash lights. Next time out, no battery. Dead. Charged it to 100%, metered it, good to go, so I thought. Noticed amp meter jumping around still, alternator squeeling now. Ok, new alternator put in. Metered it again, so far so good. Battery 12.46 cold, 14.67 to 15.43 at idle but jumping around....hmmm.
Lights still dimming. Ok, throw a new regulator in it but wait, key won't shut ignition off now and have smoke coming from the regulator. Battery still 12.4 cold, but 15.9 to 16.3 idleing. Anybody have anything like this happen? My best guess is the ignition switch is shorting and throwing a huge charge at the regulator even though the engine has started. Any thoughts Nova gurus? Switch coming soon! Fingers crossed, hate to cook a red top!
 

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In another post (different subject), I mentioned that I bought a complete ignition switch with 2 coded keys for my 68 at my local chevy dealer.
 

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Make sure everything is grounded well. I am not an electrical guru but almost all of my electrical problems have been related to ground issues. That and 50+ year old wiring that has been tampered with.
 

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Found this info...might help.

 

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I would start with a solid state regulator, and re-crimp all wiring connections. Most intermittent electrical problems are caused by loose connections.
 

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As stated earlier, check all grounds. Make sure you have a good ground wire from negative battery post to the RH fender. You may even put an extra ground strap from engine block to frame and one from frame to firewall.
 

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All good advise above. It sounds like the alternator is going full field. In other words, the regulator isn't regulating the alternator and is allowing it to put out all the current/voltage the alternator is capable of. Be careful running the car in this condition as you can boil the battery and damage parts at that voltage level.
 
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