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  1. #1

    Default Ironhead eats batteries

    1972 ironhead been chewing thru batteries, I bought a brand new generator after leaving me stranded for the second time and buying a new battery again and the rest of the electrical is less than a year old. Flashed the generator (a to positive) but when I get home and plug it in battery still needs a charge. Do I have a short or something why is it killing batts I have a 30 amp fuse and 30 amp breaker and they arenít blowing out. Been using the auto zone batteryís I think theyíre around 200 cca but last time spend a little more on a drag specialties or something battery from one of the online bike shops but it still died after a couple hours of riding so I had to pick up another auto zone special. I believe the terminals are reversed from normal so if the terminals are facing you itís positive on the left. I can post a picture of my wiring diagram if that helps thank you for any and all replies

  2. #2
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    If you check your battery voltage for a baseline, and then check it with the motor running and lights on, you should see a higher voltage. With a generator, you may have to rev the motor above idle to get good charging. This is a rough check, but if the battery voltage is lower with the motor running, you know your generator is not charging.

    As I say, this is a rough check only. Unlike with an alternator, to do a complete check on generator output, you need a good ammeter and a way to load the system to check for full generator output.

    So, how does your battery voltage look, at rest compared to with the motor running?

    Jim

  3. #3

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    It read 12.6 off and 12.4 running at high idle I am not extremely skilled with this fluke reader but it seems like the gennys not working

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cooldean69 View Post
    It read 12.6 off and 12.4 running at high idle I am not extremely skilled with this fluke reader but it seems like the gennys not working
    You are correct, now you need to figure out why. You said the generator is new, what brand is it? And what kind of regulator are you using?

    Jim

  5. #5

    Default

    Not entirely sure of the brand on genny or reg but both were purchased from sporty parts . Com my bike has a 72 bottom end and the top has got to be 78 or later according to the head gaskets that fit. I guess it could be I have the wrong regulator for my year as I bought one to fit a 72 to match the bottom end here are some pics of the products I purchased Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	108264 and I believe the regulator was 65-77 I have to check the products when I get home for any markings

  6. #6
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    You want a Cycle Electric generator. That is the company that made the 65A generator for H-D back in the '60s and '70s. They are still making them today at a very high level of quality. The name is roll stamped on the generator near the wire posts. Sorry, but ALL the import generators I have seen are JUNK. The armatures in them just do not last.

    The electronic voltage regulators are a good thing, as they aren't affected by vibration nearly as badly as the mechanical regulators. I replaced the mechanical regulator on my pan chop about every 6 months, way back when. I think it was an Allis Chalmers unit that I could buy from the auto parts store for $12 and change. But that $12 was hard to come by, back then.

    Jim

  7. #7
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    I am not the most knowledgeable about these things, but on my genny, I at first had reversed the wires, this "killed" the genny. Then I switched the wires and "repolarized" the genny by grounding out the Field terminal on the genny and then taking a temp lead from the battery positive and spark that against the Armature terminal.

    After I did that it went back to charging like normal.

  8. #8

    Default

    How long would it run when you had the wires backwards? I checked the wiring yesterday and it seemed to be correct maybe the reg is dead I don’t really understand much else I need to study the manual

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    I caught it right away as the genny light would not go out. Otherwise, with all LED lights on my bike it would have ran for a while before it cooked the battery

  10. #10

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    I don’t have any lights just headlight and tail light but I’m wondering if I can swap the wires long enough to check continuity without frying anything, I guess it’s worth a shot. I understand the generator has some sort of gearing linkage that connects to the motor internally. But past that I’m not sure how the mechanics of the thing work I’ll have to study the manual. I took the gear and a large washer off the old gen and put it on the new one so i think I have all the correct components but I am not yet educated enough on the subject to say I have it set up right. Im going to look at the exploded view in the manual when I get home thank you everyone for the responses

  11. #11

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    One other thing I remembered is a couple months ago my generator came loose while riding so maybe I damaged the gear linkage inside the bike and it’s not catching?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cooldean69 View Post
    One other thing I remembered is a couple months ago my generator came loose while riding so maybe I damaged the gear linkage inside the bike and it’s not catching?
    Someone on another thread recently had the problem of the gear coming off his generator, and consequently no charging. You can check by removing the band from the end of the generator and look to see the armature turning.

    DO NOT switch the wires on your generator to "check" it. Just be sure the armature and field posts are correctly connected to the regulator.

    You can try polarizing the generator again, but if you have an electronic regulator, you need to disconnect it before you polarize the generator. Disconnect the regulator wires, and then run a ground wire to the field post on the generator. Then connect a wire to the armature post and just flash it to the battery positive terminal. It should spark when you do this. Don't connect it, just flash it by brushing the wire against the positive battery terminal. Then hook the regulator back up, correctly.

    Jim

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    Thanks for jumping in JB, you are correct about disconnecting the regulator, good catch.

  14. #14

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    Alright followed Jim’s steps and after putting everything back it still read 12.6 off and 12.4 running high idle. Pulled the geny after and gears don’t look chewed up.. maybe I have the wrong model regulator for my bike they all look pretty similar or maybe mine is just fried it is fairly new and I am almost certain I ordered the right reg but I am stumped here are some photos
    Last edited by Cooldean69; 04-14-2022 at 5:21 PM.

  15. #15

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    Iím still able to ride it a good distance then bring it home and plug it in but I didnít build an electric bike and Iím tired of getting stranded

  16. #16

  17. #17

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    I had tested the original generator on the bench before I put the bike together and it was functional, but when these problems developed I remembered the generator was pretty much the last part of the electrical system I hadn’t ended up replacing. So I bought the new one kind of hoping that was the problem but now I’m not so sure

  18. #18
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    Here is a crude full field test for the generator:

    Remove the regulator wires from the generator. Run a jumper from the field post on the generator to ground, and attach a jumper to the armature post. Keep the free end of this jumper isolated so it doesn't get grounded. Attach your voltmeter to the battery so you can read the battery voltage constantly.

    Crank the motor up and set a fast idle of about 2000 rpm. Turn all the lights on.

    Connect the free end of your jumper wire to the positive post on the battery. If your generator is good, the battery voltage should climb quickly, and may reach 15 or 16 volts. Only do this for a few seconds, because it heats the generator up quickly, and if you get a decent voltage rise, that doesn't do the battery any good either. If you see no voltage rise, or if the voltage only goes up to 13V or so, your generator is no good.

    Jim

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    Here is a crude full field test for the generator:

    Remove the regulator wires from the generator. Run a jumper from the field post on the generator to ground, and attach a jumper to the armature post. Keep the free end of this jumper isolated so it doesn't get grounded. Attach your voltmeter to the battery so you can read the battery voltage constantly.

    Crank the motor up and set a fast idle of about 2000 rpm. Turn all the lights on.

    Connect the free end of your jumper wire to the positive post on the battery. If your generator is good, the battery voltage should climb quickly, and may reach 15 or 16 volts. Only do this for a few seconds, because it heats the generator up quickly, and if you get a decent voltage rise, that doesn't do the battery any good either. If you see no voltage rise, or if the voltage only goes up to 13V or so, your generator is no good.

    Jim
    Alright bypassed the rectifier as per Jimís advice and sure enough that voltage shot way up, so I guess that tells me I have a mad regulator/ rectifier. Any suggestions on where to buy a good one that wonít take a dump after a couple months? Is there anything else I should check? I believe it to be wired correctly but maybe I should trace everything out while Iím at it. Thanks for the help everyone

  20. #20
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    Cycle Electric. I can't say it often enough. Top quality U.S. made components, both for generator and alternator systems.

    If I were you, and you can afford it, I would buy a Cycle Electric generator with built-in regulator, and you will be set up for years. That import junk you have will be endless trouble until you replace it.

    Jim

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