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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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charging, generator, problem, system, voltage

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  #1  
Old 1st January 2016
thecarfarmer's Avatar
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Default Bench test Voltage Reg '78 XL?

File this story under "D" for "don't touch it - you'll break it"...

Getting a '78 Sporty ready for my daughter to ride. Wiring looked pretty decent overall; found a couple 'hinky' connections, and a big wad of black electrical tape on the harness where the voltage regulator pigtail connects.

Pulled the tape off, and found that there was no connector on the harness; just three connectors. One of 'em sparked against the other (remember "don't touch it - you'll break it?), and now the generator light is stuck on whenever the ign is on.

Son of a -ing

Grabbed voltmeter; sure 'nuff, the voltage drops when I turn the ignition on, and doesn't come up after starting the bike. Revving it makes no difference whatsoever. Charging system ain't charging no mo'

So, go read through stickies on charging system diag; print off a wiring diagram from the FSM on my computer



Cut a good plug off from an '84 (early 84; had a generator) harness; soldered it in to bike. AFTER unhooking battery now...

Hooked the battery back up, pulled the wires off from the F and A terminals on the generator; momentarily grounded the field post and checked for voltage @ the armature post. 45-ish volts when I give the throttle a whack. Guessing I haven't fragged the genny.

Checked that the gen light goes out w/ the armature wire removed from gen and V reg unplugged; have +12v @ the armature wire and the tan wire @ V reg plug with ign. on and voltage regulator removed. So, this proves that I a) don't have a short to ground downstream of the generator light, and b) don't have an open circuit in either legs of the tan wire. Pretty much proves the
circuit from the ignition breaker thru the gen light to the generator and V reg are good, right?

Check for resistance between tan wire at V reg plug & end of tan wire at generator armature connection. Zero resistance. Check for resistance between green wire on V reg plug & F wire to gen... zero also.

So, put all the wiring back; checked for a voltage drop between the ground strap of the regulator and the negative battery cable... .02V Negligable. Check for voltage at field terminal of genny w/ engine running; got a couple volts. Don't know what that means; presuming that it isn't forcing the gen to charge?

Now, I'm thinking I've pretty well ruled out any wiring faults, and the generator seems to be trying to put out juice. But, I'd like to know if I've missed anything here, or if there's a way to 'bench test' a solid state regulator.
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  #2  
Old 1st January 2016
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after having done all of that, what voltage are you showing at the battery now between idle and when you rev up the engine? you shouldn't see much more than 14v around 2000rpm. do you have a dedicated ground for the regulator? i burned up my first solid state reg for not having it well grounded.
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  #3  
Old 1st January 2016
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disconnect your regulator wires from the harness. Place red lead on tan and black on green, set meter to Ohms. Then reverse leads and test again. You should show Open one way and Continuity(low ohms reading) the other. If both open or both closed regulator is toast.
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  #4  
Old 2nd January 2016
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If the orange power lead touched either one of the other 2 leads it could have shorted the reg. Its now dead. could install the mech type too.
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  #5  
Old 2nd January 2016
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Or a Cycle Electric type
https://www.google.com/search?q=elec...K5bFAVCleQw%3D
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  #6  
Old 2nd January 2016
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the regulator is a switch.
fancy switch but a switch none the less.

it regulates system voltage by turning the gen on and off in very short bursts.

more on time = higher system voltage.

so you can remove the reg from bike then 'trick' the bike to the "reg on" state.
when you do that you check for battery voltage rise, ie charging.

seeing as the reg will be the only thing out of the system, if this test rig charges battery, the reg or reg grounding must be at fault.

disconnect reg.
on the bike 3 wires go to reg.
battery
armature
field.

connect battery wire to armature wire.
this will energize system same as turning key on.
start bike. 1500-2000 rpm.

ground the field wire.
check batt for voltage rise.
dont over do the rpms as your now putting full gen output in the system.
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  #7  
Old 2nd January 2016
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super duper +1
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Old 2nd January 2016
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Thanks everyone! Got my hunch verified.

@doodahman: yeah, when I saw there was a ground wire on the regulator, I checked it; approx .02V drop from the reg case to the battery negative strap... just havin' to fix that woulda' been too cheap/easy! Voltage was around 12V; never changed with RPM - that charging system wasn't putting out bupkis.

@brianbbs: about 1.5 Meg ohms across those pins, both directions. No bueno. I missed that the FSM has a "regulator" section - was looking in "generator", thinking it'd have the regulator included in there...

@72: I bet that's exactly what happened - I let the magic smoke out of it by touching those wires.

@Dr. Dick: 14V with anything over a mere fast idle. Your test put the last doubt to rest.

Now, time to buy a regulator...
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  #9  
Old 2nd January 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecarfarmer View Post

@72: I bet that's exactly what happened - I let the magic smoke out of it by touching those wires.
that take's me back.when i,first started learning about industrial electric motors,an electrician told me,''there's smoke inside those motors,if it come's out,the motor's no good''
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Old 2nd January 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecarfarmer View Post
Thanks everyone! Got my hunch verified.

@doodahman: yeah, when I saw there was a ground wire on the regulator, I checked it; approx .02V drop from the reg case to the battery negative strap... just havin' to fix that woulda' been too cheap/easy! Voltage was around 12V; never changed with RPM - that charging system wasn't putting out bupkis.

@brianbbs: about 1.5 Meg ohms across those pins, both directions. No bueno. I missed that the FSM has a "regulator" section - was looking in "generator", thinking it'd have the regulator included in there...

@72: I bet that's exactly what happened - I let the magic smoke out of it by touching those wires.

@Dr. Dick: 14V with anything over a mere fast idle. Your test put the last doubt to rest.

Now, time to buy a regulator...
I got 4 or 5 spare ones. PM me if interested.
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