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  #1  
Old 10-25-2009, 08:27 PM
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nwpaironhead nwpaironhead is offline
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Default '73 Charging system problem

I just took my bike for it's first spin today! It kinda started hard. but it was about 48 degrees out and I didn't use the choke so I wasn't real surprised. All systems SEEMED to be ok. Oil pressure light went out upon the bike firing. Brakes worked ok. It seemed to shift ok(never got outa 2nd gear though. Still don't have plates on it. Shhh) I also paid special attention to the generator light. I am using an L.E.D. as an indicator light. The ground wire is tapped in to the tan "A" armature wire that runs from the regulator to the generator and the hot wire for the indicator LED is run to 12 volts on the terminal board on the top clamp. When I bring the RPM's over 1000 the indicator light goes out, so I thought I was golden. But, after the bike ran for a while, and I test drove it, and I shut it down, I fired it up again. This time I turned the ignition switch to the 3rd position to run the lights, and take it down the street again.( I did not run the lights earlier today while test driving it, but I have while the bike was running previously) As soon as I hit the 3rd position,the bike died. I re started in the 2nd position, turned to the 3rd position, and had to blip the throttle to keep it from stalling. It then would idle, but the only light that came on was the headlight and it was VERY dim. (the generator light was still functioning as if everything were fine throughout all of this). I ,then shut the bike down, and checked the voltage at the battery. It was 4.8 volts.

I read through the 81 XLH charging problem thread and (wow lot of info there! Kind of overwhelming) One thing I did spot was the "flashing the field" information and suggestions from nearly everyone that replied.

I never did this when I re-assembled the bike. Would it be advisable to do now?

If my generator is not polarized correctly, would my generator light still function as if all was well?

Could my generator light not be indicating what it is supposed to because it is an L.E.D. rather than an incandescent bulb?

I put the bike on a 1.5 amp automatic battery tender, and am leaving it at least 24 hours. Then I'm going to re read the testing methods that can be done on the bike from the manual and from the thread on the 81 XLH.

If anyone has any ideas or experience, it would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:08 PM
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Red face

Well, so far I have fully charged my battery with a battery minder. It is holding 13.26 volts on the battery terminals. I have cell tested the battery. Each cell adds just over 2 volts, with a total of 12.86 volts with one end of the multi meter on the positive terminal and the other touching the plate in the last cell. I put a test light between the positive cable and the positive terminal. (no light)

Then I ran a jumper from the "A" armature pole on the gen. to the positive battery terminal momentarily. The generator clunked slightly then about a second later, the regulator clicked. I then ran the jumper from the "BATT" pole to the "GEN" pole on the regulator. No clunk in the generator , but I got the same click in the regulator. Almost sounds like one of the circuit breakers but I'm 99% sure it's coming from the regulator.

I was going to continue on with testing by dis-connecting the negative cable and putting an ammeter between that and the negative battery terminal, but I dont think I'll be able to see .003 amps on the gage and I'm not real sure which setting to use on my multi meter. (kinda feelin ,eh, less than sharp right now) Below are some pics of my multimeter.

'73 Charging system problem-multimeter1.jpg

'73 Charging system problem-multimeter2.jpg

So that is all the further I have gotten. I went to the auto parts store and got an ammeter. 30 amperes.

Guess I'm not real sure where to go next. Should I start the bike and check my voltage while it is running?

I'm going back to the 81 XLH thread to read up on your comments and suggestions, Pinion. Then I'll continue testing what I can.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:36 PM
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Well, I'm back. I tested the output of the generator, just as the manual explained. My output should have been +10 amps? It was putting out -9 amps. I re-checked my connections.

Green and tan from regulator off.

"F" to chassis ground

"A" to + of ammeter

- of ammeter :
touch to + of battery while bike is running at 2000 RPM

I then assumed that the generator must need polarized again. So I ran a jumper from "A" on the generator to the + battery terminal. I did not re-connect the green and tan wires until after doing so. I dis-connected the ammeter and started the bike. With it running at 2000 RPM I checked voltage at the battery. It was 11.46. I then checked the output of the generator by using a multimeter, in volts DC. I held the ground lead to ground and the hot lead to the armature pole. It was 11.4 volts. Then I held the hot lead to the field pole . It was between 2 and 3 volts. I then assumed that the generator was bad. The checking of the generator with the multimeter was suggested by a neighbor who is a mechanic. Could this have harmed anything?

I then pulled the generator and planned on switching it for one I have on my next project bike. To my surprise, there is a big washer on the end of the one I planned to put on. The drive shaft of the generatoes and locations of the drive gears are the same (within .01 or so, after checking with dial calipers) The only difference is that washer. Both bikes are '73 XLCH's.

Below are some pictures of the two generators.
Whats the washer for?
Are they compatible?

'73 Charging system problem-generator3.jpg

'73 Charging system problem-generator4.jpg

'73 Charging system problem-generator1.jpg

The one on the right is the one I pulled off of my bike.

Thank you for any assistance.
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Last edited by nwpaironhead; 10-26-2009 at 07:39 PM.. Reason: to be polite
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:42 PM
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yellowstone kelly yellowstone kelly is offline
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I can't help with the generator troubleshooting, but I can tell you the large washer is the "oil slinger" that removes any oil from the exhaust air escaping from the timing gear case, on its way out the breather tube.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowstone kelly View Post
I can't help with the generator troubleshooting, but I can tell you the large washer is the "oil slinger" that removes any oil from the exhaust air escaping from the timing gear case, on its way out the breather tube.

Aah! Guess I'm glad the is there then. Safe to say someone was in the generator that was on the bike?


Thanks!
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Last edited by nwpaironhead; 10-26-2009 at 08:50 PM.. Reason: to be polite
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwpaironhead View Post
Aah! Guess I'm glad the is there then. Safe to say someone was in the generator that was on the bike?


Thanks!
Like Yellowstone said..... You need that washer on the generator. It's purpose is to knock away the oil as the air goes out the breather tube.

So what is the situation with your generator right now?
You listed so many different tests you did that I became confused.

To me, the only meaningful test of a generator's output is one done with a zero to 30A ammeter. You want to measure the output in amps, not in voltage. If the output is 10A (or more) at around 2000 rpm the generator is good.
If less than 10 amps then it is time to open up the generator to determine the cause.

Anytime you have disconnected any wire from the generator, the voltage regulator, or the battery you need to 'Flash the Field' before you start up the bike, but after connecting all the wires back in place. Even just removing the battery will require that you to do this.
Failing to do so can (though not a certainty) cause the contact points to burn in the regulator.

I may have given you this before, but if not here is how you flash the field.....

Click the image to open in full size.

And although I may have given the instruction for checking the generator output before, here it is......... Also, read the third paragraph regarding having a grounded generator signal light. If the light becomes grounded, the generator output will be sent to ground rather than where you want it to go (your battery). This results in a dead battery after awhile of course

Click the image to open in full size.

pg
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:17 AM
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Where I'm at right now with the generator:
When I performed the output test with the ammeter, it read neg. 9 amperes. I flashed the field, and nothing changed. So I am preparing to install a generator I scavenged off of another '73 XLCH I have. The "new" generator does have the oil slinger. I will do that this evening after work. Before I do so, I will re-read the instructions and your post. The battery is currently on the battery minder to ensure that I'm starting with a fresh charge this evening.

Thank you so much for your help!!!

Off topic: Was Galveston this past weekend? Did you go? If so I hope all went well!

Thanks again! You'll probably be hearing from me this evening.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:19 AM
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Oh , the generator light is on at an idle, and goes off when the RPM's go over about 1200, but I'll perform the test just to be sure it's not pulling.

Thanks!
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwpaironhead View Post
... I tested the output of the generator, just as the manual explained. My output should have been +10 amps? It was putting out -9 amps. I re-checked my connections.

Green and tan from regulator off.

"F" to chassis ground

"A" to + of ammeter

- of ammeter :
touch to + of battery while bike is running at 2000 RPM

...
This test is to be done with a voltmeter, not an ammeter. And the output should be 25 to 30 volts. This is called The Maximum Output Test. Just before it in the manual is another test called Residual Mahnetism - do both of these and let us know the results. Both tests use a voltmeter, or the DCV [Direct Current Volts] section of your multimeter.
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwpaironhead View Post
Where I'm at right now with the generator:
When I performed the output test with the ammeter, it read neg. 9 amperes. I flashed the field, and nothing changed. So I am preparing to install a generator I scavenged off of another '73 XLCH I have. The "new" generator does have the oil slinger. I will do that this evening after work. Before I do so, I will re-read the instructions and your post. The battery is currently on the battery minder to ensure that I'm starting with a fresh charge this evening.

Thank you so much for your help!!!

Off topic: Was Galveston this past weekend? Did you go? If so I hope all went well!

Thanks again! You'll probably be hearing from me this evening.

Lone Star Rally starts this Thursday through Sunday. Saturday is the day I head down there and the weather forecast is sunny with a high of 79. Perfect!...... if it holds.

Regarding testing the generator.........
IronMick and I clearly do not exactly agree on the testing method, so you will have to make your own choice there.
I follow directions given in the factory manual, which is where the info I gave comes from.

In my book.... if your generator puts out 9 amps, there is a problem. I recommend you test the replacement generator (using your choice of methods) before you consider the problem fixed.
Remember to flash the field after all wires are connected and before starting engine.
Let us know how it goes.
pg
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:35 AM
 
 
 
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1974, 71, bosch, charging, check, harley, ironhead, local, meadville, news, pa, rewiring, sportster, system, xlch


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