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charging problem, charging system, electrical, generator, ironhead

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  #1  
Old 20th August 2012
ReverendHate ReverendHate is offline
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Angry 1973 Ironhead not charging

Ok, I'm new here and I'm not sure if this is the right place to post but anyways, here is the issue.

I bought a basket case 1973 sportster, had the motor built up, runs like a sewing machine.

So... I drive 25 miles, the battery dies, it still had the old style mechanical regulator on it so I put a solid state one on it, along with a new battery since they were both pretty old. I polarize the generator and... nothing, still no charging. Had the generator checked out, seemed ok just not putting out enough. The generator looks like it came with the bike 40 years ago so I get a new one of those and everything should be ok. Change the gear, bolt it up, polarize it... nothing. It is still not charging and the generator seems to be putting out negative voltage. At idle I am getting about -6 volts, the old generator was doing the same crap. I've polarized it without it hooked up to anything. I check the voltage at the post without it hooked up, just spinning, still negative voltage. I hook it up to the regulator and the battery, polarize it, same thing, negative volts. Has anyone seen anything like this before or have any tips on what to check for, i.e. bad grounds, ect. I've taken a lot of the unnecessary wiring out of the situation, the gauge lights, stuff like that. What am I missing here.

I appreciate any help and can possibly provide more info if needed.

Thanks,
Tony
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  #2  
Old 20th August 2012
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IronMick IronMick is offline
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This Sticky from the IronHead forum may help ...

Ironhead Charging System Checkout
http://xlforum.net/forums/s...ad.php?t=39146

Best to post this ? in the IronHead forum, here ...

Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985)
http://xlforum.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=7
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  #3  
Old 20th August 2012
ReverendHate ReverendHate is offline
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I've read through that sticky quite a while ago actually and is where I've determined most of my issues and just replaced parts. I've been trying to research this problem for a while. Sorry if I posted in the wrong thread.
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  #4  
Old 25th August 2012
kj_walther kj_walther is offline
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if you follow micks checkout from top to bottom as he sais..... he has solved every one of my problems..... thanks bud
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  #5  
Old 25th August 2012
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Fridge Fridge is offline
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Default

Check to be sure the grounding of the regulator isn't inhibited by paint,rust,corrosion,etc. by placing a star washer between the regulator ground and frame.
That's strange that it isn't putting out any voltage to the battery at over 2000 rpm's,and negative 6 volts at idle with brand new items.
Are you sure you're polarizing as per FSM?
"A" terminal on genny to battery positive,,,,, momentarily.

Could the A and F wires be on the wrong terminals?
A green wire should be on the F terminal and a tan wire should be on the A
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Old 25th August 2012
ReverendHate ReverendHate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fridge View Post
Check to be sure the grounding of the regulator isn't inhibited by paint,rust,corrosion,etc. by placing a star washer between the regulator ground and frame.
That's strange that it isn't putting out any voltage to the battery at over 2000 rpm's,and negative 6 volts at idle with brand new items.
Are you sure you're polarizing as per FSM?
"A" terminal on genny to battery positive,,,,, momentarily.

Could the A and F wires be on the wrong terminals?
A green wire should be on the F terminal and a tan wire should be on the A
I have a newer style solid state voltage regulator and from what I can tell, it doesnt have a ground wire coming from it. does the generator ground to the engine through the bolts that hold it on. the problem i'm having is that the generator is putting out negative voltage just by itself, without it being hooked up to the voltage regulator, and obviously not the battery. it seems to not want to polarize at all. could this be a bad ground strap on the battery?
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  #7  
Old 25th August 2012
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IronMick IronMick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReverendHate View Post
I have a newer style solid state voltage regulator and from what I can tell, it doesnt have a ground wire coming from it. does the generator ground to the engine through the bolts that hold it on. the problem i'm having is that the generator is putting out negative voltage just by itself, without it being hooked up to the voltage regulator, and obviously not the battery. it seems to not want to polarize at all. could this be a bad ground strap on the battery?
The ACCEL regtulators have a non-threaded hole in the back. I do not know what it is for, but i use a self-tapping bolt [or a tap and a regular bolt] there to attach a ground wire. Otherwise just make a hole somewhere safe.

I do not know if the gen needs to be grounded or not; never thought about it. But yes, it is grounded thru the bolts.

The two contacts on the gen should be labelled A and F, with the letters embossed into the metal case. Some older models have these reversed.

How are you testing for testing for volts from the gen? There is no such test in the 70 to 78 manual; there are two specialized volts tests in the 79-up manual.

If you are testing between the A and the F then you are doing it wrong. Do only the tests in the Sticky i quoted earlier. The best test is the test for amps. It is the most intuitive, easy to understand for all of us. The volts tests can be understood only by someone who understands the theory of the generator.

Follow the polarizing procedure in the Sticky. Watch for the spark and listen carefully for the gentle clunk. You should get both. If not there is probably a problem requiring the gen to be dismantled.
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  #8  
Old 25th August 2012
ReverendHate ReverendHate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMick View Post
The ACCEL regtulators have a non-threaded hole in the back. I do not know what it is for, but i use a self-tapping bolt [or a tap and a regular bolt] there to attach a ground wire. Otherwise just make a hole somewhere safe.

I do not know if the gen needs to be grounded or not; never thought about it. But yes, it is grounded thru the bolts.

The two contacts on the gen should be labelled A and F, with the letters embossed into the metal case. Some older models have these reversed.

How are you testing for testing for volts from the gen? There is no such test in the 70 to 78 manual; there are two specialized volts tests in the 79-up manual.

If you are testing between the A and the F then you are doing it wrong. Do only the tests in the Sticky i quoted earlier. The best test is the test for amps. It is the most intuitive, easy to understand for all of us. The volts tests can be understood only by someone who understands the theory of the generator.

Follow the polarizing procedure in the Sticky. Watch for the spark and listen carefully for the gentle clunk. You should get both. If not there is probably a problem requiring the gen to be dismantled.
Thanks for all the info, I will look into it more this weekend. I appreciate all the help.
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