Small Engine Troubleshooting Problems? Ask a Mechanic Now.
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How did you get it to stop whirring? Unhook the battery, maybe?
It sounds like the starter solenoid is stuck which is causing the starter to spin all of the time. This is the first thing that I would look at based on the information that you have provided.
It sounds like the start relay is stuck. The start relay is the black box that you are referring to. It is about 1" square and the wiring goes into it, it has contacts internally that can sometimes stick and when they do it will cause the battery to drain. I would replace the relay which should solve your issue.
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How large is the black box that you are referring to?