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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    No, a modern alternator should give 14.2 - 14.4V with full lighting load at pretty much any rpm above idle. That's one of your problems, so diagnose the alternator and fix it before proceeding to other tuning.

    A modern AGM battery is fully charged at 12.8V, no load, and that figure drops as the battery ages. Around 12.3V or so is 50% discharged, and anything below 12V is about 75% discharged.

    Jim
    Both the regulator and alternator are brand new drag specialties that are supposed to replace the oem parts (-70 part #s) , but Iíll check to be sure I didnít get a bad one. Iíll have to mess with all this this week. Thanks again for all the help Jim, itís greatly appreciated

  2. #22

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    You need to test the charging system WHILE RUNNING for the 14plus volts Jim is talking about.
    The numbers you gave definitely sound like it's not charging, and you're not testing it while running.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 70fatster View Post
    You need to test the charging system WHILE RUNNING for the 14plus volts Jim is talking about.
    The numbers you gave definitely sound like it's not charging, and you're not testing it while running.
    The 12.3 volts was measured while running immediately after starting it cold. It had just come off my battery tender. The 11.8 reading was measured while running once I parked it after a 10ish mile ride. This is all measured without even having the headlight on, I’d more than likely be screwed a lot it sooner having run the headlight.

    Possible Ira not the alternator or the regulator, any recommendations on what to look at next? My guess is battery terminal wire size and/or just loose wiring I some how overlooked on this insanely simple wire routing

  4. #24
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    your not charging,
    the wirings easy, stator wires plug to regulator, regulator is earthed/grounded through it's body so make sure it's bolted solid & isn't insulated from the bike by paint or powder coat...& a feed wire from the regulator directly to the + terminal of the battery,... look in your WORKSHOP manual & follow the wiring diagram,
    at rest it should read 12v+. running you should see it charge up to 14+v with hardly any throttle,
    if ya getting anything else, you have a problem with one or more units

  5. #25

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    The easiest way to not have battery issues is to not have one. Morris Mag and an SU carb is the setup on my shovelhead. If your don't have electric start and aren't running a bunch of electronics a magneto can't be beat in my opinion. My shovel with an SU carb is a 2-3 kick bike cold and one kick every time warm. You can find a good used Morris setup for alternator shovels for a decent price sometimes, probably about the same price as a new battery and charging system, they fire hot and run great when dialed in right.

  6. #26
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    One (nice bike btw), don't spend ANY money on this bike on air cleaners, mags, ignition modules. Don't throw money at the problem you need to break this down into isolated systems instead of bouncing from charging systems to ignition to timing to fuel blah blah. Keep it simple.

    Take a multimeter and check continuity on each component in the CHARGING system and give the wiring a once over, check grounds. I'm betting you have a draw somewhere--otherwise your bike would be easier to start on a full battery and wouldn't draw down so fast. If you successfully check that, then move on to ignition, then timing. Finally, check fuel--but I would even hold off on that since that's more the builder's dept.
    In fact if this builder is worth a shit he should have no problem whatsoever diagnosing it for you. Take it back there. If he won't take it and you can't figure it out? Call auto mechanics, eventually you'll find someone that'll look at it. This is basic lawnmower level shit; someone shouldn't have any problem diagnosing the bike in an hour.
    Last edited by seaking; 03-18-2021 at 11:00 AM.

  7. #27

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    Ok you tested while running and it was no higher than before you started it so definitely there is no charging going on.
    The fact that electrical parts are brand new does not mean they will work.
    You have an alternator which produces AC current, a regulator/rectifier which makes that into usable DC current, and a battery to store it in.
    Start at the beginning. Disconnect the stator (alternator) and check that AC current is being produced.
    If you get nothing here, you get nothing anywhere else.
    If the stator puts out good AC current then it is either the regulator or battery or wiring.
    The stators on shovels are replaced often. It would be my guess.

  8. #28

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    Start by fully charging your battery, using a charger.

    Continue by checking the continuity of the main earth lead to the frame. You should be able to put one multimeter lead on the live battery terminal, the other on the earth terminal, then move the lead to the crankcases or cylinders and get pretty much the same reading. If not, your Earth (ground) is bad and nothing will work properly.

    Then check continuity from the alternator to the battery, through the ignition switch and regulator, one wire at a time. You should disconnect one wire, test, reconnect that wire, disconnect the other one and test again - otherwise you may find a draw, but can’t tell whether it is through the ignition switch or regulator.

    If you have a draw, a leak to ground, my guess would be that the ignition switch is where you will find it. A draw MUST come from the LIVE side of the battery, and there are only two wires from that terminal - regulator to battery, and battery to ignition switch. If you find a current between the ignition switch input and output terminals, with the switch OFF, there’s your problem. Check this first by testing from the ignition switch output to the crankcases with the switch OFF (a current here shows that your ignition switch isn’t switching off correctly) then if there is a draw there, by disconnecting your ignition switch and bypassing it, and starting the bike.

    Once the engine is running, check your charging output as described above. It certainly sounds as though you have a charging problem, but weak or no charging won’t stop the engine if the battery is good.
    Last edited by 45Brit; 03-20-2021 at 1:01 PM.

  9. #29

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    Another simple test for the stator is to check for continuity to ground. Unplug the stator, test each wire coming from the stator for continuity to the other two wires. All three wires are connected together in the coils so they should all be continuous to each other. Then test all three wires for continuity to ground. I would test right on the engine block near the stator for that. The three wires are connected together and are coated with a very thin shellac insulation before being wrapped around grounded metal parts. Heat and vibration eventually will take their toll and the coils will become grounded rendering the stator useless.
    There should be absolutely no continuity from any stator wire to ground with the stator unplugged.

  10. #30
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    The Cycle Electric website and your factory service manual have charging system test instructions.

    I've periodically persuaded my Shovels to start in one "kick" by hand with normal boring S&S/points/etc setups.

    It's all about careful tuning. Cone engine alternator systems are quite reliable. As mentioned above ignition switches can cause problems but ya can test their continuity with a meter and gently wiggle the key to see if they fuck up (or jump them, it's easy to tape a quarter across the terminals of common designs which is also why not to rely on them for theft prevention).

  11. #31
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    Well, if I can’t figure it out by following instructions through these responses I’m a moron. Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I’m going to spend some time on it today and get this thing sorted out since I finally have a window of free time.

    I would take it to the guy that had rebuilt the motor but he’s moved to Arkansas since I’ll get this motha sorted out today dammit! A big thanks again to everyone.

  12. #32

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    I’d never heard the one about taping a coin across the terminals! But that would certainly work.... it’s certainly right that they are little use against theft. I once had a 45 that suffered a switch failure out on the road. I just removed the centre console cover and fixed a wire from the input to output side, took a couple of minutes...

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by 45Brit View Post
    ...
    Once the engine is running, check your charging output as described above. It certainly sounds as though you have a charging problem, but weak or no charging won’t stop the engine if the battery is good.
    Alright so I’ve checked pretty much everything and wiring looks to be clean and snug everywhere (but not too snug).

    My guess is it’s the regulator as I’m reading .42 at the stator leads, while running. The regulator is grounded as I was able to check a small slither of the regulator’s edge that poked out beyond the mounting bracket. So I’m going to plan on not going with another drag specialties Reg and see about another manufacturer. Any recommendations?

    Note: my stator and regulator are 4 wire male/female units rated for 15 amp (stator DS-195096) (regulator- drag 2112-0780)

  14. #34

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    .42 ac volts is too low to call it a charge. Typically there should be more voltage than 14.5, and the regulator keeps it from going higher. You should be looking at 18 or 20 ac volts at a minimum, and it should increase when you rev it proportionally.
    If you tested correctly then I would say you need a stator. The regulator might be good, just isn't getting enough juice to regulate.
    I would look up a more formal test procedure for the stator with four wires and try that one more time, but .42 is pretty lame any way around.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by 70fatster View Post
    .42 ac volts is too low to call it a charge. Typically there should be more voltage than 14.5, and the regulator keeps it from going higher. You should be looking at 18 or 20 ac volts at a minimum, and it should increase when you rev it proportionally.
    If you tested correctly then I would say you need a stator. The regulator might be good, just isn't getting enough juice to regulate.
    I would look up a more formal test procedure for the stator with four wires and try that one more time, but .42 is pretty lame any way around.
    Good info, thanks for the response. I’ll double check it tomorrow, I wouldn’t be surprised if I tested it incorrectly.

  16. #36
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    Well, finally got around to removing the rotor and found that one of the wires had been chewed up on the stator and grounding out. Going to swap in a 18amp system since everythingís fried. Any good tricks for securing the wires from hitting the rotor this time around?

  17. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by firstripholdmybeer View Post
    Well, finally got around to removing the rotor and found that one of the wires had been chewed up on the stator and grounding out. Going to swap in a 18amp system since everything’s fried. Any good tricks for securing the wires from hitting the rotor this time around?
    That would certainly account for why the bike won’t continue to run from the alternator, once started!

    This isn’t usually a problem. What sort of primary cover do you have? Any pictures?

  18. #38
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    There is a nylon clip secured by two screws to hold the stator wires down in the recess in the case. The rotor should not touch any of that if it is correctly installed. Note that the stock rotor for your bike has a machined hub that is about 3/8" thick at the splined hole. BUT all rotors from H-D after '81, and most replacement rotors are just drawn from sheet steel about 1/8" thick. For those, a spacer must be installed under the rotor so that it does not rub the case or the wires. That spacer is a washer. 094" thick and about 1 1/2" diameter. These newer rotors also have a washer about 2 1/2" diameter and a little over .20" thick that is installed on the outside of the rotor. These two washers, one inside and one outside the rotor, make up the difference in hub width of the old style and new style rotors.

    Jim

  19. #39
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    Full swap including rotor is a good way to begin with a clean slate (magnet adhesive weakens with age).

    Silicon dielectric grease (any auto store) in the connector will exclude moisture and oil.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    Full swap including rotor is a good way to begin with a clean slate (magnet adhesive weakens with age).

    Silicon dielectric grease (any auto store) in the connector will exclude moisture and oil.
    And the magnets weaken with age as well. I'm starting to see this on the mid-'70s rotors, the ones with the magnets in the nylon ring. Close to 50 years old on some of those, and they just don't last.

    Jim

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