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  #1  
Old 5th August 2021
Doc308 Doc308 is offline
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Default Generater light question

The bike is a '69 XLH. The generator light came on a week or so ago, but it is charging and the battery is maintaining a good charge. I checked the connections under the nacelle and all are good. I then ran a wire directly from the generator armature pole directly to the light in order to circumvent any other issues between the 2 components and the light stays on. So, it appears that something is amiss inside of the generator. I've never had one apart aside from replacing brushes in one about 40 years ago. What would be some things for me to look for, given the description of this issue?
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Old 5th August 2021
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A filament light bulb will illuminate if current runs through it in EITHER direction.
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Old 5th August 2021
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As strange as this sounds check to make sure that the generator bulb is properly in it’s socket. Happened to me once and that’s all it was. Good luck


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The light is connected via a diode. It only lights with current flowing in one direction. Once the generator voltage rises above the diodes level the light will.should go out.
Now the diode might have gone bad. But they seldom do.

Only way to properly check the battery is with a load tester. The genny may only be putting out 11 volts at full speed. really, you need to check the genny output.
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Old 6th August 2021
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No diode on a 69.....
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The bulb is good and tight. I checked that first and the connector was a little loose, but I dismantled reinstalled it with a small bit of shrink wrap around that part of the wire and it's real good now--as far as that goes.

Rick--when you say the bulb will light in either direction, what do you mean as far as what I might look for?

I just thought of something else. In the socket where the genny light goes, there are 2 wires: one goes to the bulb and the other seems to be attached to the side of the socket. I initially thought that it is was a ground wire. However it is live, as is the wire to the bulb. Is this correct? And--are both of these wires supposed to go the Gen port of the regulator?

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Old 6th August 2021
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Default

There is no diode in that circuit on a '69, so let's squash that thought, up front. Unless of course you've got some bastardized wiring harness that we haven't been told about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc308 View Post
The generator light came on a week or so ago, but it is charging and the battery is maintaining a good charge.
Why do you think your electrical system is charging ? and not dis-charging ?

If you're correct, I kinda doubt that will last for long. From my "arm chair quarterback" position, it smells like your battery is discharging. To what degree is the question.

I suppose a chaffed wire could be the cause, but I suspect there would be other tell-tale signs if that was the case. (aka smoke emitting from your wiring).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc308 View Post
I just thought of something else. In the socket where the genny light goes, there are 2 wires: one goes to the bulb and the other seems to be attached to the side of the socket. I initially thought that it is was a ground wire. However it is live, as is the wire to the bulb. Is this correct?
Yes, that is correct.

And yes, that is not a ground wire. It looks like it might be a ground wire, but it's not a ground wire. It does not go to ground. Think of it as a "complete the circuit", wire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc308 View Post
And--are both of these wires supposed to go the Gen port of the regulator?
NO, both wires do not go to the GEN terminal on your voltage regulator (VR). And if you check again, you'll find they do not, BOTH, go there. If they did, the light would never illuminate.

One wire will go directly to the GEN terminal on the VR. The other wire will take a longer route but will get traced back to the BAT terminal on the VR.

Movin' on.............

As others have stated, the way this light operates, is pretty simple. It's "electrical" pressure applied to either side of the light. If "electrical" pressure on one side drops below the other side, the light illuminates. (assuming of course the light is not burnt out & the wires are properly connected/not broken, etc.). As long as the "electrical" pressure on both sides of the light is identical, the light does not illuminate..... which is the normal case when the motor is running and the electrical system is solid.

Based on your description, what you have (with the motor running & the light being illuminated) is different "electrical" pressures being applied to either side of the light.

So now what ?

Get out your multi meter/ohm meter & monitor the voltage (with motor running at fast idle) at the GEN and BAT terminals on your VR. What do they read ?

Do you have an "AMPmeter" to test the output of your generator ?

Failing that, it will be difficult to accurately diagnosis.... and you're into blindly swapping parts or blindly rebuilding the generator, in the hope you find something there.

You might get lucky & a cleanup of the generator and a fresh set of brushes may resolve your issue..... but it's a wild a$$ guessing game at this point.
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Thank for all of the insights, guys--much appreciated. I said that i didn't think that the battery has been discharging because I've been riding the bike and frequently have been checking the voltage, which doesn't change at all ( 12.6).
In any event, I'm not going to risk continuing to ride the bike like this and wind up getting stranded somewhere some day. There is a great generator/ motor shop near me and they indicated that they could test it immediately and rebuild, if needed , within a couple of days. I'll report back on the findings.
Once again--thanks so much.
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Old 6th August 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Doctor71 View Post
There is no diode in that circuit on a '69, so let's squash that thought, up front. Unless of course you've got some bastardized wiring harness that we haven't been told about.


Why do you think your electrical system is charging ? and not dis-charging ?

If you're correct, I kinda doubt that will last for long. From my "arm chair quarterback" position, it smells like your battery is discharging. To what degree is the question.

I suppose a chaffed wire could be the cause, but I suspect there would be other tell-tale signs if that was the case. (aka smoke emitting from your wiring).


Yes, that is correct.

And yes, that is not a ground wire. It looks like it might be a ground wire, but it's not a ground wire. It does not go to ground. Think of it as a "complete the circuit", wire.


NO, both wires do not go to the GEN terminal on your voltage regulator (VR). And if you check again, you'll find they do not, BOTH, go there. If they did, the light would never illuminate.

One wire will go directly to the GEN terminal on the VR. The other wire will take a longer route but will get traced back to the BAT terminal on the VR.

Movin' on.............

As others have stated, the way this light operates, is pretty simple. It's "electrical" pressure applied to either side of the light. If "electrical" pressure on one side drops below the other side, the light illuminates. (assuming of course the light is not burnt out & the wires are properly connected/not broken, etc.). As long as the "electrical" pressure on both sides of the light is identical, the light does not illuminate..... which is the normal case when the motor is running and the electrical system is solid.

Based on your description, what you have (with the motor running & the light being illuminated) is different "electrical" pressures being applied to either side of the light.

So now what ?

Get out your multi meter/ohm meter & monitor the voltage (with motor running at fast idle) at the GEN and BAT terminals on your VR. What do they read ?

Do you have an "AMPmeter" to test the output of your generator ?

Failing that, it will be difficult to accurately diagnosis.... and you're into blindly swapping parts or blindly rebuilding the generator, in the hope you find something there.

You might get lucky & a cleanup of the generator and a fresh set of brushes may resolve your issue..... but it's a wild a$$ guessing game at this point.
Based upon your level of knowledge it can be a SCIENTIFIC wild assed guess...
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Yes there is at times power on both sides of the light.
When that happens the light is not illuminated.
When the generator has no output, power from the orange wire flows through the light to the generator.
If the generator output is more than the orange wire, the light may illuminate.
That is why the diode was added later on to prevent the dull glow during high generator output.
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