Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions Indians ELECTRICAL???


Moderators: Curt!, Pa

Post Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:19 pm

Posts: 1019
Location: Ojo Caliente,NM,USA
If you can't adjust the third brush to get a small positive charge with the headlight on at road speed either the genny has a problem or the lighting system is drawing too much it must show a slight charge. To check the grounding measure voltage with a good digital meter from Generator output to generator ground then to the frame then to the battery neg terminal if they are all within a few tenths of a volt of each other the ground is fine. If the ground is good hook an ammeter in the generator output wire turn on everything and rev it up. Does it put out what it is rated at? If not you have found the problem. If it puts out rated amps or pretty close put the ammeter in the head light circuit and see what it draws.

Post Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:39 pm

Posts: 190
Location: Clearwater, fl
Ok, All grounds checked out good and I added another between the front end and frame. No change. I then decided to take out the sealed beam and fitted an original style bayonet style reflector and bulb to reduce the draw. Seemed like it helped, but then, wham, 4 miles down the road it started acting up again.

We discovered that there was a trace of power at the neg side of the coil when the points were closed (test light glowed slightly) and started looking at the distributor. Seems like the points aren't grounding properly. Also, there is some arching from the points spring to the body of the distributor. There was quite a bit of red locktite on the adjustable side of the points. Went for a ride and the bike stopped cutting out, but it did suddenly quit 2 times on the way home.
Voltage at the battery when I got home was 6v.

Post Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:54 am

Posts: 1660
Location: Interlaken, NY USA

O.k, Let's try something drastic. Hot wire the coil, a new wire right from the battery plus terminal to the coil plus term. Then, if there's some way, give the distributor a direct ground to the battery neg terminal. Don't go through the fuse. Take the ride, use the lights see what happens.
The points in question are, wiring to-from battery, fuse, engine ground, and yes the distributor itself. I know, I know, all wires are new, but the idea is to find a combination where the bike WILL run, then work back to find the problem. Going the other way hasn't gotten the answer yet. Sound like a plan?
I'll try to find a pic on the web of what an indian distributor looks like, as I'm not familiar with Redskin equipment.

Post Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:07 am

Posts: 1660
Location: Interlaken, NY USA

does it look like this? Image
looks like there is an insulator to prevent the spring from arcing

Post Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:52 pm

Posts: 190
Location: Clearwater, fl
Thanks for all your help Dick and everyone else who has responded.

Yes, that is the distributor. I pulled it apart and cleaned everything. There is stil some arching, but much less.

Last week I tried running a wire direct from the battery to the coil. At first it worked, later it didn't.

Recent developments are now pointing to the generator. I had eratic readings today from the ammeter on the bike. First I was getting good readings on the plus side with the lights off and then suddenly lower readings. So I opened up the generator and adjusted the 3rd brush. I was getting 10v and high readings on the ammeter without the lights. Slightly positive on the ammeter and 6.4v with the lights on. Then suddenly very low readings all around. Then I wiggled the wire coming out of the generator (not sure which field it is) and the bike dies, as the result of a blown fuse.

The brush holder associated to the wire coming out of the genny is spring loaded (like a clothspin spring) and the spring isn't holding the brush tight up against the amature. When I press the brush tight, output at the ammeter increases, but it's erratic and occasionally a fuse blows.

Post Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:40 pm

Posts: 159
Try a different condenser! It may have nothing to do with genny. Got a wreck in your backyard to pull one off?

Post Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:46 pm

Posts: 247
Location: Orlando
The amp meter on the battery MUST read positive while riding with the light lit. Electrons don't care if its an indian, WLA or a Ford. It means your battery is NOT charging( when reading negative). The bike is sucking the battery source and not the Gen. Take the bulb out and see if it does the same thing. Just trying to see if the switched source to the lamp is possibly going somplace else as well causing a parallel drain. If it does, check the resistance from ground and the lamp base with the bulb out. It should be compeatly open (no resistance)

Its those electrical problems that only happen when you are going 70 MPH that are hard to debug.
Good luck


Post Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:44 am

Posts: 1660
Location: Interlaken, NY USA

Generally, when you have to add more pressure to a brush to make it work properly, the commutator is dirty, the extra pressure helping to cut through the crud. commutators don't need to be shiny copper, a dark coloring to the bars that has no thickness is o.k. Usually springs don't go weak, does it compare favorably to the other brush springs?
Obviously, the short in the wire needs repair, might be part of the problem.
Also, going back to yesterday's suggestion, You reported that a direct wire to the coil worked for awhile then quit. However, I'd like you to try that again, WITH a direct connection from the battery negative to the distributor as well as the direct connection from plus to the coil. New wires bypassing all other connections.
You've had some ground issues so I want to eliminate other possible ones. After you've fixed the genny wire shorting, of course. :lol:

Post Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:47 pm

Posts: 190
Location: Clearwater, fl
I'll try the direct wire again.

The one "good" spring snaps right back while it's weaker cousin has little spring to it. I am going to remove the wire and see if it's lenght is limiting the springs action.

The enire genny is so clean, I believe it was rebuilt or at least someone attemted a rebuild. The interior was even glyptaled. Of course, that doesn't mean they paid any attention to the communicator. I'll give it a look see too.


Post Sun May 23, 2010 11:57 am

Posts: 41
Location: Lakewood, Washington USA
I think the problem is with the fact that you are using a "sealed beam" headlight. The standard bulb for Indian headlights is the 2330 incandescent bulb which draws 25.6 watts/4.13 amps on either high or low beam. The Indian generator is just able to maintain a positive charge with this load (added to that of ignition/tail light etc.) even with the 3rd brush rotated all the way over. I don't know what type of sealed beam bulb you have installed but a typical Delco 6006 6v headlight requires 50 watts/8 amps low beam and 60 watts/9.7 amps high beam which is far beyond the generator's capabilities when you also consider the current draw for the ignition system, tail light etc..

Nominal generator output is about 19 amps cold but drops significantly to about 10 amps when hot. This may be what's happening with your bike. Start up is barely able to handle the load with a sealed beam and after a few miles as output falls off the battery is increasingly drained to the point where ignition begins to fail. I've gone to 6V halogen bulbs which give better light and whiter light (verses the yellow light of 2330's) and keep the wattage about the same as the 2330's. Not quite as good as a sealed beam but better than original headlights.

Post Sun May 23, 2010 7:18 pm

Posts: 159
Had the same problem on a friends WL and it ended up being the headlight globe was wired so both beams were on at the same time dragging too much current.Check your dipswitch and globe connections. I've even had faulty globes where they were both internally connected.


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