Electrical blues, the gen light won't go out

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Electrical blues, the gen light won't go out

Postby jd222 » Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:29 pm

Hey guys...just tryin get my 59 pan sorted from the winter and ready to ride next weekend, and the gen light won't go out. I tested the battery (almost new 6 v) and it's strong, I checked for a grounded light as per the manual and it's ok. So now I'm guessing the generator or I guess maybe the regulator. Can anyone tell me how to use my multimeter to test the amps being put out by the gen? I'm not sure what setting to use to test amps (I don't know much about electricity other than it's a necessary evil in my life and I'd be screwed without it) and can I just connect the multimeter between the positive lead of the battery and hot wire and run the bike to test? I'm hoping to nail down the problem in the next 24 hours and if it's the gen I'm also hoping for someone local to turn it around for me quickly ( I have a couple of leads on that)

Thanks loads!

Best regards,
Joel
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Postby FlatHeadSix » Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:49 pm

Joel,

The circuit that feeds the gen idiot light on the dash is separate from the rest of the charging circuit, it is basically an extra set of contact points on the cutout relay which stay closed (idiot light on) until the generator starts charging and the cutout relay cuts IN. Take the cover off the regulator, make sure all the contact points are clean and start the bike. You should have an actual regulator on your '59 with a 2-brush generator, if everything is working you should be able to see the cutout relay dropping in above idle when the system begins to charge.

Amps are measured by passing the current THROUGH the meter, disconnect either the positive or ground wire from the battery, connect one lead from the meter to the battery and the other meter lead to the wire you just removed going to the rest of the electrical system on the bike. Most multimeters have amp measuring ability but a lot of them are only capable of reading only very small amounts of current flow; milliamps. If your meter is not designed for at least a 10 amp current flow, or you have the selector set on milliamps, you'll cook your meter when the juice starts flowing. After you get it connected and set on the correct range you can test your meter for proper hookup by simply turning on the ignition or the lights, when the engine is not running this should produce a NEGATIVE amp reading indicating discharge. Analog meters should peg to the left, if you are getting the opposite results just swap the leads.

good luck

mike
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Postby john HD » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:44 pm

joel

all of what mike said plus this:

with the bike running ground the field terminal on the generator. do this only for a couple of seconds as this puts the gen at full output.

if the light goes out the regulator is faulty, if nothing changes you will need to check the generator.

normally you can hear the gears growl a little bit as the load on the generator goes to maximum.

don't forget to polarize the generator before you start!

john
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Postby RussW » Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:27 am

Also, If you happen to be using a Cycle Electric electronic voltage regulator, the Gen light will always glow slightly unless you wire a diode into the lead to stop the glow. Check out the Tech. section of the CE site for the cure.
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Postby FlatHeadSix » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:29 am

here is a photo of how to connect a multimeter to read current (amps). I disconnected the ground wire from the frame and connected the common lead (black) from the multimeter to the frame lug. The other lead (red) from the meter is connected to the ground wire which runs back to the battery negative terminal. The red lead is plugged into the 10 Amp socket on the meter and the meter selector switch is set to 10 Amps. The picture was taken after turning on one passing lamp (I have mine wired so that I can turn them on and off with the little switches on the back of the light), it shows a reading of -3.453: one passing lamp draws about 3 1/2 amps.

If you expect more than 10 amps load, or if the generator output is more than 10 amps, you will exceed the capacity of the meter, it will either read all 8's or blow the fuse in it, or both in rapid sequence. If you can find an old automotive amp gage, like the aftermarket ones that hang under the dash, you can jumper wire one of those in the system and do the same thing. Try to find one that is no more than +-30 amps, the 60 amp ones are not sensitive enough for what we're doing here.
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Postby john HD » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:50 am

mike

you sure do have some fancy gadgets there!

i was gonna post some pics of the same setup with my old analog simpson meter. i guess it is almost as old as my bike!

now i just gotta get some new D cells for it!

auto shut off on a voltmeter, that is almost criminal!

john :D
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Postby VT » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:56 am

Here's a source for the guage. NAPA or Pep Boys might have them. I mounted mine on a block of wood or the top rung of a 2' step ladder, set next to the bike.
http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Sear ... F-+ammeter
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Postby FlatHeadSix » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:33 am

Joel, if your '59 has still has all the stock Delco 6 volt stuff on it your voltage regulator should look like the one in this picture. The coil on the right with the set of contacts (points) on the top is what controls the field in the generator. As John said, and the multimeter reading in the picture shows, it is grounded until the generator starts to produce current. When everything starts working the coil will pull the points open and then it will rapidly "flutter", opening and closing, to control the amount of juice the generator is producing.

I should have taken a picture of the underside of the regulator. Below the coil of the left, on the outside of the unit, there is a resistor which is part of the current regulating circuit. It is actually a length of very fine resistor wire wrapped in a spiral around a piece of asbestos or something. They put it outside because it gets hot but it is also exposed to the elements and other things that can wreck it. This is the weak link in those mechanical regulators, the fine wire usually rusts through or gets broken by some other cause (enthusiastic cleaning with a stiff brush, high pressure water, whatever). Once the resistor wire breaks you have an open circuit and the regulator is junk. (like the one in this picture).

The generator light circuit on your bike should have one side of the bulb socket connected to positive battery voltage when the ignition switch is turned on, the other side of the bulb is connected to the Armature connection on the generator. Before the motor starts and the generator starts working this will "ground" the light through the armature windings and turn on the light. When the generator starts working and producing voltage it puts positive battery voltage on both sides of the light, which makes it go out because it is no longer grounded. Another test you can make is to disconnect the wire which goes to the idiot light from the generator, if the light stays on you have a grounded short somewhere in that wire.

John, I have a couple of old analog meters which are indeed as old as the bikes, and they still work great. One of them is an old military unit from the WLA era, I'll try to post a picture tomorrow.

mike
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Postby john HD » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:55 am

mike

you might be able to revive that unit by soldering a 50 ohm resistor to the back of it.

did you ever build your own frankenstien regulator yet?

mine is working fine and i plan on taking it on a road trip this weekend!

john
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Postby FlatHeadSix » Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:50 am

VT
or, you can jumper-wire it in and lay it on top of the right saddle bag. But, like I said earlier, the +-60 amp is not sensitive enough for what we are trying to see here. Thanks for the link, I'm going in search of a smaller range gauge tomorrow.

While I was fooling around tonight taking pictures I found out that I have a sick 32E on the '49 pan, it isn't putting out what it should. I thought the lights were a little dim coming home from the Legion post the other night but I blamed it on the beer. Hooking up the multimeter proved that the generator isn't generating.

Joel, a better test than trying to measure current, and quicker, and easier, and can be done with any meter, is to measure the voltage. Hook the meter to the "BAT" terminal on the relay or regulator and see what you get before and after the engine starts. With the meter hooked up and nothing turned on you should get about 6.00 volts, turn on the ignition (coil energized, idiot lights on), it will drop to about 5.5 volts, start the engine and it should jump back up above 6 volts. If everything is working the voltage will increase with engine rpm to something above 6.5 volts, if it doesn't then the charging circuit isn't putting out what it should. Mine isn't.

mike
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Postby VT » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:15 am

But, like I said earlier, the +-60 amp is not sensitive enough for what we are trying to see here

The Whitney is a 30-60, like the one you've posted. The (69 10) part number use to be for one that only went up to 30, now their 30-60. A new source for 30 amp ammeters must be found!
http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Sear ... F-+ammeter
The step ladder mount was to have it ready to use, once you've kicked the machine over. With the motor running the ammeter will bounce around if you leave it on the seat and you can't read it, so I isolate it by clamping it to the step ladder.
Image
Make the leads are long enough to work anywhere around the machine. I used alligator clips on the leads.
Great explanation of the sorting process for voltage regs. Once their proven to be faulty, they should be ditched. Trying to adjust them or make them work again is risky for the generator if they fail, imo. Just buy a new "CE-101" from http://www.cycleelectricinc.com/
And like someone said. Be careful what test you perform on a Cycle Electric electrical system.
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Postby john HD » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:36 am

here is what i found out about two unit regulators, the old delcos are the best for a bike application, and can be revived with some repair and adjustment.

i have the .pdf file for the factory adjustments here somewhere.

short of that, your alternative is to buy a accell reproduction unit. while they look and act just like the originals i have found them to be fragile and not last for more than one season. they seem to have the nasty habit of the cut out relay sticking and leaving the generator energized after you shut off the bike. (the battery will be dead when your return!!)

i got tired of spending 40 to 60 bucks every year for a new one so i cleaned and adjusted my original delcos. with the proper instruction they can be fixed.

since all of that i went on a originality kick for my bike and developed a solid state regulator that fits in the 3 brush cut out relay. looks like a 3 brush but operates as a more reliable 2 brush unit.

would like to point out the solid state reg would not have been possible without help from fellow board members! you know who you are!

john
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Postby Cotten » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:33 pm

CE's Model 61 is identical to the original, and both should be re-polarized any time a lead has been disconnected.

For applications with a battery within an oil tank, their proper regulator is the CE-102L.

End-mount versions should not even be considered for a vintage machine.

....Cotten
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Postby jd222 » Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:48 pm

Guys- thanks for all of this great advice...I will be in the shop tonight trying all the various tests suggested and hopefully not cooking my reg, my gen or myself. When I first started checking whwen the light would not go out I pulled the cover off my reg ( I need to check what kind it is...not sure it's a delco and it's awfully new looking to be original..I'll snap a photo and post. I do know it says Made in USA on the top edge inside) and the contqacts on the top (Looking at it mounted) seemed kind of stuck together and had a bit of crud on them which I cleaned off carefully with some fine emery. Not sure what affect this might have had on the system. Also, when the bike is running the lower contacts stay closed when it appears they should be open once the gen kicks in? If I'm reading this all right sounds like no juice?

ALso, does the gen need to be flashed every time you remove the battery? If so I've missed doing this a number of times and maybe contributed to my problem? I did flash it before trying to get the gen to work the other day..I goit some noise from the regulator but still no charge. I flashed it at the regulator like the manual instructs.

Anyway..thanks for all the help...I hope to identify the culprit by this weekend. There is a local guy to me (Springfield, MA) that is very good at HD electrical repairs and if I can get a hold of him hopefully he'll be able to help me before Rhinebeck. Here's a pic of my bike right after I finished it.

I'll keep you posted how I make out...thanks![img][/img]
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Postby VT » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:59 pm

CE's Model 61 is identical to the original, and both should be re-polarized any time a lead has been disconnected.

That is correct. The "Do Not Polarize" Cycle Electric generator is the 2-brush DGV-5000 Series (with built-in voltage regulator) shown here:
Image
DGV-5006 (7.58" from the gasket surface to the end of the fins)
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Nice '59, jd. The bottom of the front fender looks like someone spent some time on it. For reference later, note where the wiring conduit exits the tank and front fork panel.
I flashed it at the regulator like the manual instructs.

Yes, flash the generator field coils (through the vol. reg.) every time your remove the battery or any of the voltage reg wires - but flashed only after all of the wires have been re-connected.
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If any one ever finds a new source for the +/- 30 ammeter please post it!
Image
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The CE-101 Voltage Regulator replaces the Volt. reg. on '58-64 machines with 6V generators.
The CE -102L replaces the volt. reg on 12-volt conversions when using the small 12-volt battery in a horseshoe oil tank.
Image
CE-100 series
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Polarize the OEM and the CE-2578 (aka, the Model 61):
Image
This generator is powerful, producing 20-30 amps, so it is very important to have a properly working current limiting regulator to restrict amperage draw on the generator (15 amps on the Model 61).
You might want to call Cycle Electric before you consider using an Accel volt. reg with a CE Model 61. Mixing electrical components from different manufacturers may void the generator's (1) yr. warranty.
Can you hide the CE-100 series Volt. Reg. in an old Delco/Accel volt. reg box? I never got a clear answer when researching for Vol. 2. The CE-100 has those cooling fins....maybe it would overheat in a tin box. Dunno.
Here's the Accel volt. reg.
Image

Cycle Electric reported the (1) year warranty on a 2578 (Model 61, 6V) generator would be void, if the owner used an Accel or other brand voltage regulator that harmed the 2578 generator (i.e; burned armature).
VT
 

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