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Super Meteor charging issues

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Super Meteor charging issues
Started at 08:15pm on the 27th December, 2018 by Zelda
Zelda Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Dear All, I'm back again with continued charging problems... I have installed a new Lucas Single phase 12V 120W 2 wire stator and rotor, Lucas Reg1 120w rectifier/regulator, new gel battery and installed a wiring loom to the diagram shared in the link below; After a top-end rebuild the bike runs beautifully, except after 4 miles when the battery runs flat, sputters to a stop, and is difficult to start again! The ammeter dips below 1/2 way with pilot lights switched on, and remains down once they are switched off. I have also noticed the ignition coil gets very hot when the ignition is switched on, but the bike not running. I have switched out the ignition coil to test, with the same result. I have tried a few basic tests with my multimeter on the battery, and blown the Reg1 by removing certain wires (which I replaced), but still no luck. If anyone has any thoughts, suggestions or similar issues, I would be glad to hear as I'm at a loss as where to look next! Many thanks
Posted: 08:15pm 27th December, 2018
stinkwheel Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
I'd start by doing a couple of static tests looking for current leakage, shorts and anomalies. So leakage, disconnect the coil, ensure the lights are off and turn the ignition on. If the ammeter moves, you have a problem, disconnect componants one at a time until it zeros and you've found the problem. You may want to use a more sensitive ammeter in series with the battery positive for this test. Most multimeters will have a 10A setting which you may need to put the probes in a different socket for. Nothing on your bike should be exceeding 10A.

Next I'd try to find out what the heck is happening with your lighting. An ammeter moving halfway seems a huge swing, is there a short on your pilot lights? Why is it apparently "latching" when the pilot lights are on? So with the coil still disconnected and engine off, try the pilot lights on (so you have what, 2x 5w?) should be drawing in the vicinity of 1A. When you turn it off again, it should go back to zero amps. If it doesn't, I'd suggest you have a problem with the light switch. There are bulbs in the circuit so it (hopefully) shouldn't pop the meter.

Ok, next thing, to totally flatten a battery in 4 minutes, there is a huge current draw. So, if the above all checks out, that kind of leaves either a short in the coil or a hugely duff reg/rec with some sort of dynamic earth leakage. Here you may need to take a conscious risk, how many amps is that coil drawing? If it's more than 10A you could pop your multimeter fuse when you power it up (gives you an answer all the same). It's definitely a 12V coil?

Maybe worth checking the charging phases for a short to earth too? There should be no continuity between either phase and earth.

Posted: 12:51pm 28th December, 2018
Adrian Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
OK, stinkwheel's got his reply in first, but I think we have similar concerns.

A 12V rewire with new alternator and reg-rectifier shouldn't end in tears, especially as yours is a simple set-up with no indicators or electronic ignition to worry about. If nothing else, this is a good advert for magneto ignition...

Let's have a think about the wiring first.

From the reg rectifier you connect the -ve to earth on the frame and the -ve battery terminal. The +ve red wire goes to the +ve ammeter terminal with wires back to supply power to the light switch and the ignition switch. From the other ammeter terminal you want a wire to the battery +ve terminal via the fuse and another one to the horn. That's pretty much it for the charging side.

After that, wire up the coil and points from the ignition switch, with the feed to the rear brake light switch off the +ve side of the coil and from there to the brake light.

That leaves the rest of the lights to wire in. Wire up the pilots to the pilot position, the headlight supply to the dipswitch, the rear and speedo lights to their position. Main and dip wires to headlamp bulb, and apart from any extra earth wires needed, connect the horn that's it.

I have several observations/questions:

1. Ref the positive wire to the ignition coil on your diagram, it looks like you have it joining the positive wire from the reg/rectifier instead of coming straight from the ignition switch.

2. What switch gear are you using for lighting and ignition? Not sure how you're managing your pilot/headlamp operation as you diagram has the pilots shown twice;

3. Even new reg/rectifiers can be duff, shorting out internally;

4. Any evidence of short-circuits in the wiring anywhere?

5. Is the ignition coil new as well?

Hope you can get this sorted.

Posted: 01:01pm 28th December, 2018
Mark M Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Like the others, I'm suspicious of the reg/rec unit, your symptoms sound like overcharging and then discharging, the reg/rec is the obvious suspect. I did a Google search for the 'Lucas Reg1' unit and it seems to be a quite high capacity unit sold for cars and special builders. While I don't think it would over-charge just through being a high capacity unit I'm not convinced it's suitable for bike use. That's my tuppence worth! And yes, the coil will get warm when ignition is on but not running, if it's too hot to touch there may be a problem.

REgards, Mark
Posted: 03:03pm 28th December, 2018
Wheaters Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
I noticed the comment about the coil overheating, too. It will get warm in normal operation and shouldn't get too hot if the engine is running (when the points are open the LT supply to it is effectively switched off, basic principles). However, it's not good practice to leave the ignition on with the engine stopped and the points closed, so it might just be normal. However, if the coil is badly overheating I'd suspect it might be a 6V coil instead of a 12V one. Or, is there a dead short via the points condenser or elsewhere? (I take it that you're aware that if the contact breaker clearance is set too tight the dwell angle will be reduced, which means the LT side of the coil is powered for longer than designed for. I doubt that is your problem though). Your bike might have a faulty lighting switch causing a short to earth. My 350 Bullet Electra has Minda switchery. I have noticed that occasionally of late the pilot lights stay on when the lighting switch is selected OFF. I think this must be sticky contacts; I'll get round to looking at that, but for now cycling the switch a couple of times sorts it out.
Posted: 05:41pm 28th December, 2018
John L Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Zelda - Your bike has FOUR pilot bulbs ?
" ammeter dips below 1/2 way " is a discharge of how many amps ? Suggest you measure this with a (reasonably accurate, reliable) multimeter.
Battery runs flat after 4 miles (Stinkwheel, that's MILES not MINUTES, and not TOTALLY flat, either) tells us it probably ain't being charged but very little else.
Why have you wired the bike NEGATIVE earth, and what was your reason to replace what seems virtually the entire charging system ? More info. please, if you want folks on here to help you.......
Posted: 12:22am 31st December, 2018
Adrian Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Apparently there was a move away from positive earth systems to negative to reduce chassis corrosion in cars, I believe all modern vehicles are now negative earth. Converting to 12V allows for a simpler wiring loom. It's possible(!) that some or all of the original electrics were knackered after 60-ish years, hence wholesale replacement.

Once Zelda has had a chance to digest our comments some more information indeed would help.

Posted: 11:08am 31st December, 2018
John L Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Adrian - I am fully aware of the changeover to negative earth on vehicle electrics - but as Zelda's bike is neither a car nor a "modern vehicle" in any sense, I ask again for his reason for this change. (My feeling is that a polarity change would make it way easier to mess things up if following a wiring diagram, particularly one as sketchy as that in the o.p.)
If the original electrics are boogered after "60-ish years" it sounds like they may have fared better than the new replacements !
Posted: 11:33am 31st December, 2018
Mark M Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
If Zelda has fitted the reg/rec I think (s)he has it looks to be intended for car use and may only be available in neg earth? Unfortunately I can't find the listing now to check!

REgards, Mark
Posted: 12:04pm 31st December, 2018
Marko Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
I've had a look at Zeldas wiring diagram.... Zelda please tell us your bike is not actually wired up like that? The regulator/rectifier you have can be wired for positive or negative earth. I just cant get my head around your wiring diagram (that's if you've drawn it correctly?).. The only time I have ever come across a "hot coil" is when one is failing OR a wrong one has been fitted. What kind of ignition are you using? Points? Electronic? What light switch are you using? Pilot lights making the ammeter swing 1/2 way down is not right. Let us know & someone will help.
Posted: 02:02pm 31st December, 2018
Adrian Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
John L,

a full restoration as opposed to an electrical upgrade would certainly have stuck with positive earth AND 6V electrics to boot. Assuming you haven't already come across it, you might be very interested to see the nearly completed and incredibly meticulous restoration of a 1959 (RE) Indian Chief by a German enthusiast. His fastidious approach to the electrics has seen him build his own replica Lucas 6V rectifier and his own wiring harness cloth braiding machine, replica Lucas wiring terminals, etc! The story is on the US Enfield forum, so it's in English, up to 19 pages with pictures so far...,21851.0.html

Another reason for negative earth is that some modern accessories will only be fully functional when wired that way, there is an electronic ignition kit (Pazon?) which will run happily +ve or -ve earth, but which also has an optional rev-limiter function which will only work with -ve earth. I have assumed Zelda's bike is using points ignition as there's no TCI box or trigger plate shown in the wiring diagram.

Posted: 02:17pm 31st December, 2018
John L Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Adrian - I'll leave "meticulous restorations" to the pedants and rivet-counters....
(I don't think I need to tell any of this to any of the auto-electrical gurus of this site, but maybe it will help the O.P.):-
There is no such thing as a 6V rectifier, any more than there is a 6V or 12V ammeter, of course. Neither is there a 12v alternator stator/rotor. Voltage of the system is set by the regulator and choice of battery, with bulbs and ignition components to match. Rectifier converts ac to dc, 'c' being CURRENT, not voltage.
By "Lucas reg 1" I assumed, (probably wrongly) that Zelda meant the "A Reg 1" generic type combined regulator/rectifier favoured by just about everyone for 6v/12v conversions and which I will use for just such on my own Redditch Bullet.
However, until Zelda comes up with some answers...........?
Posted: 01:26pm 1st January, 2019
Adrian Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Oops, yes... Lucas rectifiers (and their meticulously crafted German replicas) do their thing regardless of 6 or 12V, this one was FOR a 6V system, sloppy writing!

There was another post recently where a new A Reg 1 unit had failed on a Meteor Minor, our hosts don't sell them, though they do list the Boyer Power Box as well as a more generic looking single phase Lucas-branded unit, similar to the A Reg 1. Made in the same factory, do you think?

Posted: 10:34am 2nd January, 2019
Mark M Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
I'm pretty sure these A Reg 1 rectifiers are a generic, probably Chinese made item, There are lots of them for sale and they are all very similar if not identical. Wassells for instance (the big pattern part supplier) sell them as does Paul Goff, A O Osborne etc. My apologies if this is incorrect!

REgards, Mark
Posted: 11:11am 2nd January, 2019
stinkwheel Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
The battery running flat after 4 minutes/4 miles is telling us there is a hell of a lot more wrong than it simply not charging. I know my 350 bullet will do well over 200 miles running on total loss from a charged battery. So there is something putting a hugely excessive load on the battery. If it's doing it within 4 miles, I'd be thinking something bordering on a complete short-circuit. Might even want to have a look for hot/melted wires.

Took me a bit to get my head round the wiring diagram. I'm not sure how it turns off but equally, I couldn't see anything to cause an actual problem with it discharging.
Posted: 11:55am 2nd January, 2019
Mark M Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
The wiring diagram is either incomplete or I can't understand it. For instance, there seems to be no 'live' feed to the lights or in fact a light switch at all. Likewise the coil seems not to be powered, unless there is supposed to be a connection from the reg/rec? I realise this is a home drawn diagram but it would help to know the logic of it, for instance I can see where a wire crosses another but doesn't connect with it, where they cross at right angles are they connected? The modern convention (in my world anyway!) is where wires cross an overlaid circle indicates a connection, no circle the wires are independent. My instinct is telling me that so many connections and components so close to the alternator and before the ignition switch is potentially (ha ha) a problem. I'd like to see better isolation of the alternator and battery?

REgards, Mark
Posted: 12:17pm 2nd January, 2019
stinkwheel Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Took me a bit to get to the light switch. It's a 3-position switch on the black wire coming off the red just before the ammeter. The wiper is shown between two positions. I think most people would have put a box round it.

Yes, I would also like to see the ignition switch isolating more componants. There is too much wiring not protected by the fuse to my eye.
Posted: 12:29pm 2nd January, 2019
John L Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Adrian - yes, of course ! The regulator mentioned in the o.p. may well be a Lucas (#200004F)- thanks for pointing it out. (I'd not seen that particular listing by our Hosts before)
Regarding the wiring diagram and its interpretation, I can't help but feel that it could have been concocted by the DPO of my Triumph Tiger.
EVERY wire on this bike had been chopped through (usually midway or at some entirely stoopid place) and usually re-connected by "bared and twisted" joints, sometimes covered with tape, or maybe not. Even deep into the taped and covered harness, a foot of red cable joined 18" of brown/blue, a thick black joined a piece of "mains earth" yellow/green, and so on - you get the picture.......AND the most annoying thing was that everything actually worked (at least, it did when I bought the bike !)
Anyway, it looks now like we all have the similar concerns and are asking the same questions.
Posted: 04:06pm 2nd January, 2019
Adrian Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Come on, Zelda, there's a queue of people wanting to re-wire your bike! Possibly even with soldered connections... ;o)

Posted: 10:00pm 2nd January, 2019
Mark M Subject: Super Meteor charging issues
Checking previous posts "Zelda" appears to be a bit of a serial one-post-wonder. Last post seems to be 2013 and several other posts were one response only. I fear we may never know. Spoooooooky!

REgards, Mark
Posted: 11:10pm 2nd January, 2019

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