Author Topic: Sun VAT-28 Battery/Charging System Testers - Two of them refurbished.  (Read 910 times)

Online goodfellow

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Note: These threads are old. I managed to restore these Sun Automotive Equipment threads from backups that I had made several years ago.
Hope you like them -


This one was done a few months ago -- It's a VAT 28. Probably the most popular ignition and starting system tester of the 1960's and 70's. I found it in a body shop so it was covered inside and out with "gobs" of body dust and gunk. It needed a thorough cleaning, a few wires, and three capacitors. Here are the before pics...









Here is the cart after a few hours of work -- and the finished product after a few days







Finished the case and the unit -- looks pretty good!









« Last Edit: October 10, 2020, 12:05:25 PM by goodfellow »

Online goodfellow

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Re: Sun VAT-28 Battery/Charging System Tester - refurbish
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2020, 12:03:28 PM »
Managed to add another VAT-28 to the garage. Here's a few pics ...



Along with some other VAT's I have



Here it is after some "lovin' " == paint, clean-up and a few new terminals




Online goodfellow

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Re: Sun VAT-28 Battery/Charging System Tester - refurbish
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2020, 12:03:53 PM »
I couldn't help myself, I saw this old VAT on e-bay being advertised in the welding section as an orphan with the caption "Sun VAT28 Welder" -- so I snagged it for $9.99. It's somewhat beat, but it can be refurbishhed and cleaned up to look and function like new. It's not working right now, but that's easily fixable with this style of equipment.

Obviously the previous owner had no clue as to what it was -- or what it's used for. 



A little paint and some new clamps will do just fine here --









Here it sits next to it's "brothers" -- another VAT-28 and a VAT-33.


It's a sickness I tell ya   :hillo:

Online goodfellow

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Re: Sun VAT-28 Battery/Charging System Tester - refurbish
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2020, 12:04:28 PM »
I finally had a few hours last night to tackle the Sun VAT-28 that I had won on e-bay a few days ago for $9.99 -- turned out pretty good!! It wasn't working when I started and the leads were shot, but slowly it came to life.





The first problem was easy -- no continuity in the secondary leads. This is a common issue and because of hard use, the copper strands close to the clips get weak and eventually break internally. So as a matter of course I clip all the secondary and field leads by 2" to restore good conductivity.



The first thing I do with these old leads is to clean them with lacquer thinner. Thinner will remove years of grime and rot and show the true condition of the leads. In my case, the leads were in good shape and came out looking like new once they were wiped down. Here are "before" and "after" pics.





A new boot was required on the negative terminal



The field lead needed to be resoldered at the internal junction -- and required new field terminals to be soldered into the master terminal on the business end.





The primary leads were cleaned with lacquer thinner and then lubed with WD-40. The brass shunt connections were cleaned with a wire wheel and the cables were re-wrapped in electrical trape



Only this one capacitor needed to be resoldered. It looked like it was damaged while the case was being removed (either by me, or some previous owner), no matter, it was an easy fix.





The case was cleaned and sanded and finally received a nice coat of hammered paint

Before ---





After ---





The primary lead clamp was cleaned with thinner and what had looked like "reddish grime stained" clamp insulators turned out to be a nice "red" color.



The front of the case was treated with denatured alcohol and a little lacquer thinner to get all the grease and grime off. The knobs and hardware were polished and washed with WD-40 -- which makes for a nice shine. The cables were also washed with WD-40 to make them pliable and shine.









This VAT-28 is actually in better shape than my other unit -- both cosmetically and electronically.

Offline john k

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Re: Sun VAT-28 Battery/Charging System Testers - Two of them refurbished.
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2020, 02:03:40 PM »
Looking great.   I trust these analog units more than the electronic stuff we were told must be used, to test batteries, alternators, on the newer vehicles.  Have and use a VAT 40, the shop was going to toss, still  works just fine.  Saw a Motorcraft tester on the bay, made a failed bid when it came me that Sun built it. 

Online goodfellow

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Re: Sun VAT-28 Battery/Charging System Testers - Two of them refurbished.
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2020, 06:37:42 PM »
Looking great.   I trust these analog units more than the electronic stuff we were told must be used, to test batteries, alternators, on the newer vehicles.  Have and use a VAT 40, the shop was going to toss, still  works just fine.  Saw a Motorcraft tester on the bay, made a failed bid when it came me that Sun built it. 

Yup, nothing beats a big ol' carbon pile tester. I still use my VAT-33 regularly as well.

Offline dsforever

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Re: Sun VAT-28 Battery/Charging System Testers - Two of them refurbished.
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2021, 09:17:54 AM »
Very nice job on all your Sun "projects".  What brand and color of paint have you used when working on these? 

Offline bonneyman

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Re: Sun VAT-28 Battery/Charging System Testers - Two of them refurbished.
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2021, 10:50:20 AM »
Great resto's! You can definitely count on analog equipment for the long haul.  :great: