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  #11  
Old 6th August 2021
Doc308 Doc308 is offline
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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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  #12  
Old 6th August 2021
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A simple test of the voltage AT THE BATTERY TERMINALS can give a good indication of battery/charging function.


With all wiring in place, set your multimeter to 20v DC voltage.

Test Reading #1:
Put the meter probes directly across the battery - RED to Positive & Black to Negative. This will show you the Battery Voltage at Rest

Leave the multimeter connected across the battery terminals for all the other tests as well.

Test Reading #2:
Turn the Keyswitch to Ignition. This will show you the Battery Voltage under Light Load.

Test Reading #3:
Press the Start Button and watch the voltage carefully. This will show you the Battery Voltage under Heavy Load, almost like a load test at the battery store. The voltage should not drop below 10-10.5 volts.

Test Reading #4:
After starting, rev the engine to about 1200-2000 rpm. The voltage reading across the battery terminals will now show you whether the charging system is supplying MORE VOLTAGE to the battery THAN when it was AT REST. The regulator (and gen or alt) should supply more voltage in order to charge the battery. The charging voltage should be 13-14 volts.


Take those four voltage readings, under those conditions, and you'll have a pretty good idea where to look next.


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  #13  
Old 6th August 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porch_hornet View Post
FWIW - I just solved a charging issue with my generator (77 XLCH) with a new Cycle Electric unit. HD is stamped on the unit that came with the bike, so it may be original equipment. 44 years seems a good life span.

I bought my 1977 XLCH new from Ed's H/D in March 1977

Still running OEM generator with 2 rebuilds at Pete Hills shop

Replaced regulator in 1995 with H/D branded unit that lasted only 2 years

Replaced that with ACCEL unit

I fully expect the EMF system to outlive me
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  #14  
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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  #15  
Old 11th August 2021
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Follow-up: I removed the genny and bench tested. When applying power to the armature terminal, sparks and no motor spin. I dropped the unit off to a generator shop and he found one wire that was practically bare right next o metal and another which was nearly worn through. The mechanic who serviced it saw where there could have been an intermittent shorting as the wires were so close to metal --ie with normal vibration, etc there was likely occasionally grounding. With time , there would likely have been a complete short-out. So, all is well again.

Thank you all for for the great advice--much appreciated.
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