Small Engine Problems? Ask an Engine Mechanic for Answers ASAP
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The most likely cause of this is a shorted voltage regulator.
Have you got a good voltmeter, preferably one capable of measuring amperage?
Not critical, my friend.
Let's try it with a voltmeter first.
The voltage regulator is a small, aluminum box on the side of the engine, with 3 wires attached.
What I need you to do is to disconnect and tape the center wire (it should go straight to the battery or starter solenoid).
Set your meter to ACV.
Start the engine and run it to about 3/4 throttle.
Touch the leads of your meter to the 2 outside terminals of the VR. It should read 20-50VAC.
Now set the meter to DCV.
Touch the black lead to a good ground, and the red lead to the center terminal of the VR.
It should read 13-14 VDC.
What do you get?
There are 2 diodes inside the regulator.
A diode is a one-way check valve for electricity - it will only allow electricity to flow one way, but not the other.
In a good regulator, the positive pulse of the AC sine is allowed to pass through the diode as a DC current, and goes to charge the battery.
What is happening is that one of your diodes has burned out, allowing DC voltage to flow back into the stator.
It's a good thing you caught it now, because it would have eventually melted the stator down.
Once you get the VR in, if you are still having issues, please let me know - but this should take care of it.
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But the best way is to put it is right in your question - "This question is for Hank F".
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It's been a pleasure working with you.