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Battery drain, but runs fine....Ammeter ok

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Guest
I am having an electrical problem and I was hoping to get some suggestions. My Ammeter reads zero but my battery keeps draining and my lights are dim when the tractor runs. I can put a volt meter on the tractor and I'd assume it should read 13.8 volts. Any suggestions on what I should test. This is a 3012. I've inspected the wires and all looks ok. I'd rather not go and replace unnecessary parts so any ideas would be great.

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UCD
Make sure all connections are clean, at the battery and connections at other end. You should read 13.5 to 14.5 volts at the battery terminal with it running. Disconnect the Positive cable and connect a test light between the battery cable and battery post. If the light glows with the switch off you have a current drain. If this is the case you will have to disconnect circuits until it goes out. If you do not have a drain have your battery load tested, it might not be holding a change and need to be replaced. This is an early indication the battery is going bad.

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Guest
Maynard, Here's what I've found so far, I checked the voltage and I have 11.57volts over the battery. I see the regulator switching between 11.57volt and floating above zero on the far left connection (if you were sitting on the tractor) or far right if you look as it is mounted. I can not tell which is the A/B/F fields on this regulator (Ammature,Battery,Field), though I am guessing I was testing the "Field" wire. I will check for a current drain next. I also disconnected the battery and tried seeing what the voltage across the battery leads is, but it was too fast to read. Thank you, Michael. Note: Also my ammeter does not seem to change during any of this. I am assuming it's tired.

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Guest
Thank you all your help will avoid me buying or seeking the wrong part. I talked to a Simplicity dealer/repairmen and they advised that if I short the "F" or the "Field" terminal on the Regulator to ground (using a screw driver). Doing this will activate the field on the Generator and it will push the charge into the battery. It was explained I should hear the generator being loaded and this would let me know if the generator is working AOK. What was explained is that the battery is always tied into the generator circuit and the regulator constantly switches to ground to balance the battery with it's charging needs. I've searched this website to find the "wiring diagrams" section and I'm verifying that I am selecting the correct "F" terminal on the regulator; I still can not see a "F" on the regulator. I'll update you when I complete both the light test and the regulator test. Again thank you. Michael G.

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Scotmo
Michael: Do you have the ability to switch your battery with a known good battery?You may just have a bad battery.I am not familiar with your tractor but Maynard's posts are right on. Good luck!

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Guest
Thanks for the tip, I'll first switch with a different machines battery. That's easy enough.

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Guest
I've switched batteries and still I was only getting 11.7 to 12volts across the battery. Instead of using a light, I switched my Multimeter (fused at 10amps) to Amps and measured the amperage across the positive lead; I read 0 amps saying I had no drain and when I turned on my headlamps they drew 5 Amps. I tried this a few times and put the meter in milliAmp mode and still the draw was zero amps (no headlight on). Thus no drain. Next I tried the short the field to ground trick I was advised and after I wired a lead directly to the generator and still I saw no load put on the engine or a change in voltage. Note, on the "wire lead" trick, I don't advise that unless you have a large wire, I used a test lead expecting to pull away. Second note, I cliped the voltmeter on my battery during these tests and saw no voltage change. I'm not sure what I am going to test next, but I'd apreciate any ideas. Thanks in advance.

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patrician12
If the starter with a fully charged battery appears to crank the engine perfectly we have to assume the generator is ok.You said the ammeter always stays in the middle no matter what.The generator charges the battery thru the ammeter.Take the 2 wires on the back of the ammeter off and join them,ground the fieid on the regulator and then measure voltage.If it charges then you have a bad gauge,if it doesn't you have a bad generator.Maybe.Upon start up you are thru the key switch putting 12 volts to the armature terminal on the generator,upon releasing the switch the armature goes to the ammeter to charge the battery.So after it starts run a wire from armature to battery and see if it charges.This elimates all of the tractors wiring from the loop.

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Guest
Solved... I inspected the Ammeter and both wires were jumpered onto one lead. I assume the ammeter is grounded and which ever side pulls more power makes it go to the middle, because I found the real problem. As I was inspecting the wires, I noticed that there was some electrical tape on the field winding wire, originally I thought that was ok because the wire was solidly into the crip connector. What I found under the electrical tape was a break in the wires. I stripped the wire back and took out the cripped connector and put that on the field connection. Had to jump the tractor and Wha-la... the tractor did sound different. Looked at the Ammeter and it was pushing 10 at high idle and backed off at a lower idle. Checked the voltage across the battery and it was 12.4volts higher than before but not 13.5 to 14v. Well I ran the tractor for a while and what do you know... I can now start the tractor without a jump. Thank you all for all the advise. My next questions will be around how to get these Ammeters repaired.... Not a real priority, but I would like to restore this tractor in the future.

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Guest
Jim, I'll keep my eye out, if you happen to find one please let me know. I'm in CT/VT (skihome in West Dover) so I may run across you at some future swap meet. I don't expect that I'll make many, but I'm going to give it my best shot to be at least one per year. I competitively sail every weekend in the Spring/Summer/Fall, then I switch back to skiing (skiing was not so good this year). I also need to find some time to get my power boat on the water too. Michael G. Again, Thanks all for the help.

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UCD
Just because the starter Part of a starter generator will start a tractor does not mean the generater part is charging the battery. I would check the output voltage at the starter generator. I would say with the charged battery the 12.4 volts is battery voltge not charging voltage.

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patrician12
How can the generator be bad if it works as a starter?For the generator to turn as a starter all internal circuits have to be complete.If a brush(es} is bad it won't turn,if the field is open it wont turn and if the commutator is open it won't turn.

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Guest
I'm going to get a voltage on the system ASAP for this posting, I am going to guess it was reading 12.4v because the battery had been drained with all this experimentation/diagnosis and will hopefully be higher when I measure it again. This battery was brand new last year from sears. In the meantime, it's roto-till the garden time and the 3012 is starting on command again: [img]http://www.simpletractors.com/club2/uploaded/michaelg221/PICT0015_s.JPG[/img]

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PatRarick
quote:
Originally posted by patrician12
How can the generator be bad if it works as a starter?For the generator to turn as a starter all internal circuits have to be complete.If a brush(es} is bad it won't turn,if the field is open it wont turn and if the commutator is open it won't turn.
This is a pretty simple explaination, but it should help to get the point across. Most motors or generators have at least two field coils. In a starter/generator, there is one motor coil and one generator coil. Either can burn or short out without affecting the operation of the other. Pat

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Roy
Tractor Supply has new amp meters for $8 for Ford tractors. It is the same brand and type as the one on my 7013S. Amp meter should not be grounded! It is wired in series with the hot wire coming from the voltage regulator or generator. My thoughts,

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Guest
Thanks for the tip on Ammeters. I just went out in this 44 degree weather here in CT and checked the voltage on initial startup and running for about 2 mins. At first right after Startup idle low but not really slow, I had a reading of 12.47volts, gave it about 2 minutes and noticed the Ammeter (which is wired strange - I need to diagnosis this) was bouncing up to 10 and a little over. Then the voltage was between 14 and 15 volts. I'd say we are working good here. I still want to learn more about diagnosing these faster. With three other tractors, I know something is going to go wrong at some point.

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