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Erratic charging 129

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Allenpatterson

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2021
Messages
152
Location
Michigan
displayname
Allen Patterson
Here are the steps I have taken so far. I grounded out the "F" terminal on the generator and my amp gauge needle pegged all the way to the "C" side of the gauge. As I understand that means that my issue is most likely voltage regulator related. I took the cover off the regulator and cleaned the contacts but then I noticed all the corrosion inside and was not able to get it to work with all that rust and corrosion. So next step I used a stens voltage regulator and had it wired up incorrectly my first attempt but after getting it correct I was getting voltage readings all over the place at the battery. Anywhere from 1 volt up to 15.1 volts and it was constantly changing up and down. Next in fear of that I had ruined the stens regulator from starting it with it being wired incorrectly I robbed the regulator off the 105 and this time had it wired correctly from the start but still getting erratic volt readings at the battery. This time it was better and I think the absolute highest reading I had was 14.6 volts but it is still dipping down low and then coming back up and dipping down again. I would say that the higher rpms and full throttle seemed to make it read even more erratic. The needle on the ammeter does seem to bounce up and down a bit and show some fluctuation and I assume that it should be a much steadier charge than it is. I have also tried cleaning up my ground connection in the battery compartment but that didn't seem to be the answer either. My question to you guys is where should I start next or am I overthinking things and shouldn't be worried as long as it is keeping the battery charged enough? Thank you guys for any help and I will admit that I am not an expert at these things and will take any constructive criticism there is to offer.
 

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After thinking over all this throughout the night I realized what I described is probably way to long and complicated to follow but I wanted to list the steps I have taken and results I got. To try and put it in simpler terms and long story short my charge is very inconsistent. Tester at the battery terminals reads all over the place even at running the engine full throttle which I just checked and I'm at about 3640 rpms with no pto load on the engine. Tester readings are anywhere between 14.6 volts and down to 1 volt and constantly changing and not consistent at all. I hope that makes my inconsistent charging dilemma a bit easier to understand.
 
As a test, run a wire from the negative terminal directly to the base of the regulator and see if that changes your readings. And make sure the connections for that temp. ground wire are clean. Let us know what happens.
 
Made it out to try the temporary ground wire. Unfortunately I ended up with the same type of inconsistent readings. Any suggestions what my next steps to take might be?
 
Does that regulator act the same way on the other tractor? Or does it charge smooth and steady? Have you verified that?
Hard to diagnose it like this...
But if it runs full charge with the field grounded, and it is steady.. then the generator should be fine. That leaves the wires and the regulator.
Double and triple check the wires, some years are known to have corrosion creep under the insulation and cause all sorts of problems. The green corrosion can sometimes be seen at the connectors, it'll even eat the wire it seems like..
 
You're right about verifying the regulator. That is my problem, the 105 is a non running tractor right now so I can't verify that this regulator is any better than the stens replacement one. I just found it strange that with both regulators the voltage seems to jump around so much. Even though my wire ends and wiring seems surprisingly clean and in good condition your suspicion of a bad connection somewhere does seem to make sense to me. With all the vibrations while running a bad connection or possibly broken wire internally does seem like it would make it charge so inconsistent. Is it at all possible that the generator would be putting out an inconsistent charge? If I test at the post on the generator and then touch the ground to the frame should I be getting a consistent voltage reading or because of being hooked to the regulator am I going to get the same bouncing readings? I know I'm becoming a pain in the butt with all these questions.
 
You're right about verifying the regulator. That is my problem, the 105 is a non running tractor right now so I can't verify that this regulator is any better than the stens replacement one. I just found it strange that with both regulators the voltage seems to jump around so much. Even though my wire ends and wiring seems surprisingly clean and in good condition your suspicion of a bad connection somewhere does seem to make sense to me. With all the vibrations while running a bad connection or possibly broken wire internally does seem like it would make it charge so inconsistent. Is it at all possible that the generator would be putting out an inconsistent charge? If I test at the post on the generator and then touch the ground to the frame should I be getting a consistent voltage reading or because of being hooked to the regulator am I going to get the same bouncing readings? I know I'm becoming a pain in the butt with all these questions.
At this point of the conversation.. anything is possible. :cool: Also, what kind of meter are you using? A digital VOM? Sometimes that will display so many readings it'll act erratic.. but if you used an old analog meter, it will appear smooth as silk. I've seen that one first hand. Hooking up the regulator "wrong" and then using it makes me wonder... it could be just fine but I have no way of knowing. The only other thing I can think of is to add some wires to bypass the originals and possibly eliminate another potential issue. As TK Hoffman above questions.. you could pop off the back plate and investigate the brushes, again, with the intention of eliminating a potential problem.. we know the generator put out when the field was grounded, so you're halfway there. I don't have a regulator that I know is good, I'd let you use one as a test part.
 
You're right about verifying the regulator. That is my problem, the 105 is a non running tractor right now so I can't verify that this regulator is any better than the stens replacement one. I just found it strange that with both regulators the voltage seems to jump around so much. Even though my wire ends and wiring seems surprisingly clean and in good condition your suspicion of a bad connection somewhere does seem to make sense to me. With all the vibrations while running a bad connection or possibly broken wire internally does seem like it would make it charge so inconsistent. Is it at all possible that the generator would be putting out an inconsistent charge? If I test at the post on the generator and then touch the ground to the frame should I be getting a consistent voltage reading or because of being hooked to the regulator am I going to get the same bouncing readings? I know I'm becoming a pain in the butt with all these questions.
Sten's doe's have some problem's with their products no and then. See if Digger might have an OEM. Not that there always perfect
 
I was also wondering if the generator could actually be doing something odd even though when grounding the F terminal it pegged the ammeter needle but I had only done that briefly and makes me wonder what it would do after a few seconds or more but didn't want to have the unregulated charge going on for too long. I have been using cheap digital multimeters. Seeing the fluctuating of the ammeter needle along with my fluctuating multimeter readings make me think that there is a problem like a short or broken wire and bad connection somewhere. My brother is way more mechanically and electrically inclined than myself and he pointed out that it should never dip down at the battery posts less than what the actual charge of the battery is. He said it seems very strange how one second it can be at 14 volts and then the very next second down to anywhere from 1-6 volts and then right back up again. Where does all that voltage go and how does it come back so quickly? Unless like you said I am getting erratic readings from both of my cheap digital multimeters? I know the ammeter is definitely no high tech device but it gets bouncing a good amount at the higher rpms also. This evenings plan is to make a jumper wire and try that in place of each connection in the system and try to rule that issue out or at least pin point a bad wire or connection. Thank you for all these suggestions and maybe my answer is as simple as needing to try a different voltage regulator or even new brushes in the generator or a rebuild. The little I messed with it last night had me a bit worried because with the regulator off of the 105 and using the newer multimeter I was getting some readings of just over 15 volts at the battery as it jumped around. Didn't run it too long like that and nothing got warm so I don't think I hurt anything. I have also tried two different batteries at this point. I don't have a load tester but the one has been starting my wheel horse no problem even after sitting for weeks and weeks at a time.
 
Sten's doe's have some problem's with their products no and then. See if Digger might have an OEM. Not that there always perfect
[/QUOTE

Good point, I probably should have just bought OEM to begin with off his website and also wiring it correctly the first time wouldn't have hurt things. I am learning and by screwing things up like this and hooking them up incorrectly should hopefully make me do things right the next time before potentially ruining new parts. Hopefully I start getting better with troubleshooting and just working on things in general.
 
I do have an original requlator, and your welcome to use it to test with... but I have never tried it myself.
It may be a pig in a poke... and with shipping?? might not be worth the cost. But it's there if you want.
I think verifying the brushes condition and general condition of the generators interior.
Running a couple of temp wires to bypass the harness would be a good test imho.. HTH.
 
there is a vid on u tubbers. how to test your VR. tho you need a varible power supply.

tryin to find someone who knows electronics. to build a soild state VR. its been done. but they are not hit with the start current that these do.



edit. heres the link
 
I had watched that YouTube video this past week and although I don't have the variable power source it was very helpful in showing how the regulator works. I usually need a visual to understand things and that guy did a very good job.
 
Have to verify if multimeter probes solidly connected to the battery, but maybe battery internal fault/damage may be part of the problem. My brother had one that would work perfectly, unless it wouldn't. If he bumped his car with his hip, it would start, when it had acted dead before. Permanently solved with new battery. Obviously, something was loose, and moving, in the old one.
 
I had watched that YouTube video this past week and although I don't have the variable power source it was very helpful in showing how the regulator works. I usually need a visual to understand things and that guy did a very good job.
yeah iam still going thru the same issue myself.. i can cross off the dvms. as i have analog also. ill still looking for the zero volts also lol... funny a battery goes to zero. anyways.. wont be for a few months till next year when warm up. need to get injectors for truck 1st .
 
To keep it simple, let's start with the wires. Clean the batt terminals and make sure there's as much contact as possible at the terminals. I hope the post clamps are swaged to the cables, not the cheapy squeeze clamps. Double check the ground connection. With a meter probe on the + term put the other on the frame. You should see the same voltage as term to term on the batt. with NO more than a 1/2 volt difference; and verifies the ground connection. Disconnect the regulator. Then with a meter probe on the batt +, go through the main/charging circuit with the other probe on the connections one at a time. You are looking for any voltage drop along the way, jiggle some wire as you go and alligator clips on the connections can help do this with both hands. Check the ammeter for any resistance terminal to terminal (preferrably without the wires) and after that be sure the nuts are tight. A sweep meter is the best for this, but whatever you use, a 1/2V drop between battery and tested end is the max allowed.

The video shows basic operation and no more. The important part of setting it to spec, air gap for instance, is disregarded when putting the points together. There was a definite difference in latching voltages at the start and then at 8:34. Simple is understatement of the engineering that solid state replicates, O scope or not.
 
Are you charging into a fully charged battery? Haven’t read all . Pull the voltage down a bit on the battery and test. Just a thought
 
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