WL750, Electrical Problems…

Posted: October 10, 2015 in Just Me
Tags: , , ,

I have had a problem with lack of spark, and it seems that my bike (1951 WL) has been running on battery power alone. To the point where it killed the battery and i had to be recovered.

Today I replaced the blown headlight and Generator bulbs, and after starting the bike, all seemed well, the gen bulb going off as revs increased as you would hope.

But then as I turned on the headlight again all seemed well with the headlight getting brighter as revs increased, but then again it all went bad. the generator lamp came on, got really bright and then blew, at the same time causing a backfire from the motor. So I again replaced the Gen bulb, and the exact same thing happened again.

Ignition Cutout

Ignition Cutout

32E Generator

32E Generator

It is fitted with a 32E Genny, but I did find the two wires were connected to the wrong terminals (would this cause a problem?) I swapped them over to the correct position, and once again replaced the blown Genny lamp, but still had the same result? I seem to be getting a spike in voltage from the Genny?
With the voltage “spike” thing in mind, I put my voltage meter across the battery terminals, and had a steady 7+ volts at the battery, but I would also get a hit at 14 volts? what is going on there.

So the day ended in frustration, trying to catch the fault all to no avail. So I had nothing else to do except drag out the Panhead and go for a ride….

  1. Ron L. says:

    Did you have the generator out at any time, and if you did you flash the terminals to get the polarity right as told in the manual? Otherwise you voltage regulator must be duff.

  2. Ron L. says:

    Also best thing you can do for any old Harley is replace gen. with a model 65 12v generator and convert your lights. Never have a problem again.

  3. AJS4Me says:

    I know you know all this Kev but have you / or you should check the earth’s are good, or even crocodile clip a new one as a temp measure. Wire in a new voltage regulator and double check the battery isn’t fried. Also the charge light in an intrinsic and important part of the charge system make sure its right

  4. RonL says:

    Hi again, Did you get the generator sorted out? Reading this again you say two wires were connected to the wrong terminals, this could screw up the polarity. Again did you flash the generator terminals as it tells you in the manual. Follow the directions in the manual for that. Ron L.

    • englandkev says:

      Not yet Ron, just got a new relay this week, and I shall take your advice and flash the Genny before fitting the relay.

    • englandkev says:

      Hi Ron, my manual doesn’t cover “flashing” a generator? what manual are you using, and would you mind explaining how to

  5. AJS4Me says:

    I read the net and found this as its similar to cars (All dynamo / generators)

    The article below suggests – There is no need to flash a 32E 6v generator.
    the generator is a 3 brush shunt type, both coils, regulating coil and shunt coil are not connected in series like a two brush generator.
    the regulating coil provides power in the first switch position and the shunt coil adds the extra power need when you switch the lights on.
    and the independent coils are flashed every time you turn the key switch.
    This is why there are no instruction for polarizing a 32E generator in the manuals.

    But it goes on to say

    To answer your question
    Without disconnecting anything, momentarily touch a jumper wire to the gen. terminal, and the ignition/battery terminal- both on your cut-out relay- at the same time. You will see a spark. Job done.
    I don’t understand how anything is flashed when you turn the ignition on since there should be no path between the generator and battery until the generator output exceeds the 6.3 or so volt setting of the cutout relay. That’s why the relay is there- to prevent the generator from draining the battery.

    Make your own mind up

    See http://www.hydra-glide.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=14101

  6. AJS4Me says:

    Are you sure about your regulator replacement I thought As manufactured all regulators are set to operate at 6V.
    For 12V operation the small GREEN wire loop should be cut and sealed (with epoxy or silicone). If you ordered a 12V regulator your supplier may have already done this for you.

    + Earth regulators have a BLUE field wire.
    – Earth regulators have a WHITE field wire.

    For 6V operation the GREEN link wire is intact
    For 12V operation the GREEN link wire is cut and sealed

    • englandkev says:

      No regulator on a WL, 3 brush generator, and cut out relay.

      • Rich says:

        Followed you on ADV (olefartrich), what kinda battery are you using? I had a modern sealed gel cell battery (6V) in my 42 WLA that changed voltage when thumped with a knuckle, 6v, then 3v, then 14v- on a 6 volt battery. A regular lead/acid battery solved the problem. If that doesn’t work, suspect the cut out.

      • englandkev says:

        It was the generator internal wiring, all fixed now, and yes old style lead acid battery

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