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

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  #1  
Old 1 Week Ago
76ironheadek 76ironheadek is offline
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Default Ironhead no charge

Hello I’ve just bought myself a 1976 Ironhead harley and I cannot get the thing to charge the battery. It has a brand new battery, a brand new voltage regulator. And I have gone through and properly replaced all of the wires so that I knew it would be fresh and all the connections clean. I did pull the generator and I hooked it to a battery and it did spin so that tells me it’s good. However when the bike is running and I hook a meter too it it’s throwing all kinds of number and it’s completely unreadable. There doesn’t seem to be a solid voltage while running even when I rev it it’s just like numbers are going crazy. Then when the bike is off it will show that I lost voltage after it had ran. Anyone know what’s goi on?
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JB in NC JB in NC is offline
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A generator with a couple of segments or windings either open or grounded will still "motor." The only definitive test is a growler test of the armature.
Also, sticky or worn brushes or brush springs will cause erratic output (or even no output). And the regulator must be properly grounded. For example, on the '76 XLH model, the regulator is mounted on the battery box, which is rubber mounted. A ground must be provided.

Jim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 76ironheadek View Post
Hello I’ve just bought myself a 1976 Ironhead harley and I cannot get the thing to charge the battery. It has a brand new battery, a brand new voltage regulator. And I have gone through and properly replaced all of the wires so that I knew it would be fresh and all the connections clean. I did pull the generator and I hooked it to a battery and it did spin so that tells me it’s good. However when the bike is running and I hook a meter too it it’s throwing all kinds of number and it’s completely unreadable. There doesn’t seem to be a solid voltage while running even when I rev it it’s just like numbers are going crazy. Then when the bike is off it will show that I lost voltage after it had ran. Anyone know what’s goi on?
As per FSM:
Polaraize the generator by momentarily jumping bat and gen terminals.
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  #4  
Old 1 Week Ago
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have fun find a growler these days.
mechanical or electronic regulator?
as my sun says, it is standard practice to do the polarization when the genny is disconnect or the battery. this ensures the shoes in the genny are magnetized in the right direction. the genny will put out voltage either polarity as in positive and negative ground systems, just take having the right regulator.
if you have a mechanical regulator and it see reverse current, the points will vibrate violently and burn out and smoking the resistor on the back side.
the armature can be checked with a good vom. there are two segments per winding so check ohmage and then segment to shaft for ground.
commutator needs to be clean and round and with insulators below the surface.
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JB in NC JB in NC is offline
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76i polarized the generator when he hooked it up to motor it. Of course it could have been hooked up backwards.

You can do limited checks of an armature with a volt/ohm meter. A growler is the only sure way to test. Many of us who have been in this for a while have growlers.

Jim
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80HDXLS 80HDXLS is offline
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My only advice is if it comes to replacing the generator, do not buy a cheap one. The generator I purchased for my 1980 was made by the same company who made the original. I think American made, but I have forgotten the name. It may just be me but some of the stuff that comes out of China is less expensive but doesn't hold up very well.
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Old 1 Week Ago
JB in NC JB in NC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80HDXLS View Post
My only advice is if it comes to replacing the generator, do not buy a cheap one. The generator I purchased for my 1980 was made by the same company who made the original. I think American made, but I have forgotten the name. It may just be me but some of the stuff that comes out of China is less expensive but doesn't hold up very well.
The OEM 65A generator was made by Cycle Electric, and thankfully they are still making them, as well as high-quality alternator components. Can't go wrong with them.

Most of the import generators have an armature that will last about 6 months, and then the generator is toast. I won't even waste my time working on an import generator.

Jim
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  #8  
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Is the reg securely groubded
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  #9  
Old 1 Week Ago
Hopper Hopper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 76ironheadek View Post
Hello I’ve just bought myself a 1976 Ironhead harley and I cannot get the thing to charge the battery. It has a brand new battery, a brand new voltage regulator. And I have gone through and properly replaced all of the wires so that I knew it would be fresh and all the connections clean. I did pull the generator and I hooked it to a battery and it did spin so that tells me it’s good. However when the bike is running and I hook a meter too it it’s throwing all kinds of number and it’s completely unreadable. There doesn’t seem to be a solid voltage while running even when I rev it it’s just like numbers are going crazy. Then when the bike is off it will show that I lost voltage after it had ran. Anyone know what’s goi on?
Modern digital multimeters have a hard time reading the erratic output from the old mechanical (coil and points) regulators, especially the cheaper meters. Try with an old analog multimeter, or analog volt meter from a car etc, or a more expensive multimeter that may have circuitry to smooth out the spikes and dips that a mech regulator gives.
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  #10  
Old 6 Days Ago
NP72Iron NP72Iron is offline
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When I read this title I thought someone was giving away an Ironhead for free.
Oh well. Good luck, hope you get your issue sorted


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