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Thread: Overcharging

  1. #1


    1946 chief with a cycle electric 12 volt generator bought and installed 2 years ago.

    i had the bike out and it was running fine this afternoon. shut it down, then went to restart 10 minutes later and it would not kick over. i discovered my horn wasn't working, nor was my head light. i rolled the bike down a hill and popped the clutch and it started up. rode it home (did not turn on headlight) and while it was still running in the garage, i pulled out my volt meter. at idle it was reading about 12.8 volts, but as i revved the motor, it put out as much as 18 volts - that can't be good. the amp meter on the bike stayed right in the middle and the meter did not fluctuate with rpm's as it normally does.

    i shut the bike down and a few hours later i went to turn on the light and beep the horn - nothing. the battery is reading over 12 volts, but i'm guessing the overcharging has killed the battery and its not putting out any amps. this is the same battery i installed 2 years ago when converting to 12 volt and the charging system has been great since the 12v conversion. any suggestions on what to check? the 18 volt reading concerns me and i'm inclined to think there is a problem with the voltage regulator.

  2. #2

    Re: Overcharging

    Did you happen to check the wire from the generator to the voltage regulator and see if it broke? Not sure how you have the bike wired but just a thought

  3. #3

    Re: Overcharging

    The cycle electric generator that I have is model IN-5000 which has the built in regulator.

    the regulator has 2 external terminals on it - one marked "B" which is connected through the ignition switch, through the ammeter, and directly to the battery (always hot) and a second terminal marked "L" which is for a generator light that is not used on my 1946 model (I believe it wasn't until 1948 that a generator light was used).

    The external wiring connected to the "B" terminal is where I was was checking the voltage when the bike was running, but I will take a closer look. Is this the wire you are referring to? Or is there an internal connection that I should remove the regulator to access?

    Thanks for the reply.

  4. #4

    Re: Overcharging

    No I thought you had a standard generator rewound for 12v with a separate voltage regulator,if it's charging up to 18v your regulator is not doing its job. I had one on a Harley do that once a long time ago and it wound up being the regulator but there was a procedure for diagnosing it I just can't remember what it was. I do remember I got the instructions off the cycle electric website.As far as your light and horn not working I'm not sure about that, possiblity of a blown bulb from overcharging but the horn is peculiar. Load check your battery just to make sure,you can turn your key on too and check the voltage at the battery and see if your battery drops off significantly and that would explain your accessory loss.
    Last edited by cdan; 07-31-2020 at 09:04 AM.

  5. #5

    Re: Overcharging

    If you have a bad battery, it may overcharge.


  6. #6

    Re: Overcharging

    The battery is definitely bad. When the key is turned on the voltage at the coil drops way down. Head light, brake light, horn, none work, but when I hook up a known good battery up, it all works.

    I'm away right now, but when I get home I'll start the bike on the good battery and see if I'm still pushing 18 volts. I think that will tell me if the regulator is the problem. But there must be a procedure to check the regulator. I went to the cycle electric website before starting this thread. I may have missed it, but I could not find a testing procedure on their website.

  7. #7

    Re: Overcharging

    If with a new battery it still overcharges call Cycle Electric very great people.

  8. #8

    Re: Overcharging

    Same test as other generators.If it is giving you 18v the regulater is not working.

  9. #9

    Re: Overcharging

    i just got back in town and started the bike on a good battery. hooked up the volt meter just as i did the other day when i was getting 18 volts. on the good battery it is reading a max of 14.5 volts with the headlight on and the motor revved. 14.6 with the headlight off. those readings look good to me. i can't say i've ever seen a bad battery cause on overcharging condition (as indian301 suggested), but it looks like that's what has happened.

    on the topic of batteries, I have been running an AGM (absorbed glass mat) battery for the last 2 years since converting to 12 volt. what are your opinions on the style of 12v battery to use in this application?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Minneapolis, MN

    Re: Overcharging

    Good to know! Back when I was sorting out my '47, I had charging issues that drove me to drink.
    Thanks for posting the follow-up.
    "The most beautiful objects are those built for purpose. Few things are more thrilling than the unrestrained use of tools most have mistaken for luxuries" -unknown

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