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1979, charging, generator, voltage, xls

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  #1  
Old 30th December 2011
bykrdan bykrdan is offline
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Default Charging light...

Hey there;

I just popped a new gel-cell battery in my '79 XLS (old one was about five years old), but then on a recent ride home in the dark, I noticed the battery probably wasn't the problem at all (in fact, I charged up the old one and it now holds a respectable 12.8v at rest). The gen light glows just barely perceptably in the dark.

I checked the brushes; they are within spec (about .75 in), though visibly worn.

Has anyone done the full blown system checks with the rheostat, voltmeter and ammeters? It sounds a little involved to me (I'm not so hot with electrical work.) The generator only ground-the-field doesn't sound so bad, but the manual states not to run the bike very long that way, so that one has me put off a little, too.

Any ideas or tips? Should I maybe just replace the brushes anyway, first?

Thanks,
D.
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  #2  
Old 30th December 2011
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In the technical section there are charging system checks.

It is somewhat normal for a dull glow from the charge light sometimes.
A High output headlight will seriously screw with an Ironhead's electrical system,
the factory bulb is a 35/45W. Any bigger and you are on your own.

Check your battery voltage with a fully charged battery and the motor running at 2500 RPM, it should be over 13.5 and under 15 volts
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  #3  
Old 30th December 2011
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I think this Sticky may have what you need ...

Ironhead Charging System Checkout
http://xlforum.net/forums/s...ad.php?t=39146
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  #4  
Old 6th January 2012
bykrdan bykrdan is offline
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Default

Thank you both...

I got kind of a wake up call this week - I went to pick up some brushes for the gen (even if they're not the problem, which I suspect they are, I'll need a new set soon anyway) and neither dealer had any, and in fact, told me they are now obsolete!

I can still find them on Amazon, but the handwriting is on the wall...
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Old 6th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bykrdan View Post
Thank you both...

I got kind of a wake up call this week - I went to pick up some brushes for the gen (even if they're not the problem, which I suspect they are, I'll need a new set soon anyway) and neither dealer had any, and in fact, told me they are now obsolete!

I can still find them on Amazon, but the handwriting is on the wall...
try ebay and your local indie shop also there other interney based dealers , google harley parts, sportster ironhead . Nikki
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  #6  
Old 9th January 2012
bykrdan bykrdan is offline
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Well, I don't have to worry about brushes now; my minor charging problem just became a major one... Stupidly, I did the "generator output test (ground the field, ammeter on the armature.)" I got a spark when connecting the ammeter, but no amperage at all. When I reconnected the generator (and properly polarized it) the gen light comes on and stays on full bright...

So - I have an earlier generator laying around the garage; local H-D shop replaced it and the regulator for me some five years ago. I think I'm going pop that one back in (I think H-D may have just wanted to sell me a new generator) and see if it performs any better.

I'm a little bummed. When it wasn't fully charging, at least I could bench charge and ride to work. I don't think I can take it anywhere now, running at a dead loss all the time.

By the way - if my spare generator does not work out, I'll be looking for a replacement, and I'm kicking around ideas. I have the solid state regulator on the bike (that I believe still works.) The generator I just blew was a cycle electric. I could just go for a replacement, but I'm open to other ideas; anybody have a solution that works really well? Thanks,
D.
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  #7  
Old 9th January 2012
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I have two HD ones. I keep one on the shelf in good working order in the event I have a prob with the other.

You have two. Learn how to repare them rather than replace. It is easy. With two you can do it at your own convenience and keep one ready.


Also, I assume when you say 'reconnected the genny' --this means the Reg was removed from the genny before testing, right?
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  #8  
Old 9th January 2012
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That's right... In fact, the generator was removed from everything, both A and F posts were bare, until jumpers were connected. The F jumpered to a ground (I used the ignition brace between the heads) and the A was jumpered to an ammeter and then the + battery post.

I was flipping through the J&P Cycle catalog last night and it looks like they sell all of the electrical bits for the gen, at a reasonable cost, so I was a little bit encouraged after that (I was PO'd after I fried my own generator!) I can get field coils, brushes and a complete armature all separately.

I wonder, is it possible to test these items individually and find out what I cooked? Or should I just go ahead and get all new innards?
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  #9  
Old 16th January 2012
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Well, now I am completely confused...

I set about to take a look at the original, spare HD gen I had on the shelf. Doing the "motor test" on the bench, it ran, but pretty slow and poorly. The commutator bars on the armature looked pretty worn down, so I swapped in a spare armature (I don't even remember where that came from) and I got a crisp smooth running generator!

Major victory!

But then the confusion set in. I decided to pull the other generator off the bike, that I thought I had blown. I did a quick motor test on it, and it ran every bit as good as the spare.

I'm confused because (read above) after I did the generator output test and reconnected, the charging light on the bike went to full bright at any RPM, so I thought it was good and blown. When I reconnected it, I used NeverSeize on the terminals, as they were showing a good deal of salt corrosion. Would that have been a problem? I thought NeverSeize was at least a somewhat conductive lubricant.

I'm beginning to think the generator was not the problem at all. Is there a good bench test for the regulator? Mine is a solid state, for a '79. Or, was corrosion on the terminals the problem the whole time?
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  #10  
Old 16th January 2012
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Did you flash the field after you got everything installed and hooked back up?

But as you said, the gen may not be the problem.

Also, did you check to see what the output voltage from the gen at 2000 rpm is?
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