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Farmall 230 battery drain

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RandyM
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:07 pm    Post subject: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I have consistently had a battery drain on the Farmall 230 for as long as I can remember. It something that I just lived with. When I refreshed the tractor several years ago, I replaced the entire wiring harness with one from a known vendor. The tractor is still 6-volt positive ground and I don t plan to change this one to 12-volt although I know it would be less troublesome.

Recently I replaced the old generator with one I had on the shelf (the one I had on it was from an old 6-volt truck, it was replaced with a a generator from a Farmall tractor). I had the replacement checked and rebrushed, then it run on the machine by a trusted local shop with the voltage regulator that I had on the the tractor (he was given both of them). The battery was new in early October. A few days back it would not start and I found the battery to be low. So following the advice here, I started tracing the wires to check for voltage drain. I used a digital multimeter.

First without disconnecting any wires and using a charged battery, each terminal was checked to ground and was consistently 6.4 volts (neg battery anode - starter - ammeter - VR Batt - VR Load - ignition switch - fuse - light switch terminal #1). So, I m concluding that there are no broken wires?

I went on to remove the wire at each terminal and check voltage between the wire and the terminal it was taken from. Between the battery anode and the starter cable I measured 5.1 volts so my thought is the circuit is drawing 1.3 volts someplace. This was consistent (+/-0.05 volts) all the way through the circuit up to and including at the Batt terminal of the VR. With the load wire disconnected from the VR, I read 0.0 volts between the wire and the L terminal. This changed to 6.4 volts when I turned on the light switch.

When I installed the VR I wire brushed the mounting holes and used star washers to be sure I had good grounding between the VR and the tractor. I have also been checking the charging output. I don t always get the 7-7.5 volts I would expect. At one point it was not producing any output at 2/3-3/4 throttle, but jumped to 7.3 when I idled it down. Then after charging it from this last non start, the output was running at 8 volts. My guess here is that I have an internal VR problem.

Next I continued to trace by this method after the ignition switch to the coil. With the switch ON, and the wire off the negative coil terminal I read 5.8 volts. Is this an indication of a switch issue? With the distributor wire off the coil, and the ignition switch on, I had a reading of 5.65 volts across the coil terminals. Does this indicate a coil problem?

Thanks in advance for your insight and assistance. If there are other checks I should make, please let me know.
 
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Janicholson
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Your middle paragraph points to a new regulator. The last Paragraph is in need (to me) of an explanation. Switch on volt meter grounded, wire off of
the distributor side terminal, the voltage should be battery voltage, not less, at both terminals of the coil. With wire reconnected and points closed,
there should be battery voltage at the switch side of the coil, and no voltage (less than .25v) at the distributor side of the coil. Jim
 
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AlinMO
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Instead of using the volt scale, try it using "amps". I'd set your meter at 10 amp to keep from blowing your meter fuse. Disconnect your main wire at battery. run 1 lead of meter to battery post, other to disconnected wire. If this is only wire on post, you should show an amp reading. If not try the lower amp setup. If it shows a draw, yuu need to find which circuit is drawing current. Hook up main wire then start same process with each wire connected to main wire.
 
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Dave41A
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

AlinMO beat me to it. Voltage is a tough way to check for a slow drain. Disconnect one connection at a time and work your way through the system, using the ammeter to complete the circuit. With everything off, you should show 0 amps everywhere. Do *not* test amps to ground--that will blow the meter instantly! Test the amps between the terminals you just disconnected from.

I would start at the negative terminal and verify that there is amperage flowing from the battery with everything off as follows: Connect one ammeter lead to the (-) battery terminal and the other to the battery cable clamp. This should show zero if everything is right--but a few milliamps if you have a drain. Then put things back together and go to the next spot, and so on.

Another way to do it is to put the meter between the (-) battery terminal and the clamp as I described, which again will show a few milliamps if you have a drain. Leave the meter there, then one-by-one disconnect the lights and other components, re-checking the ammeter each time. When you have disconnected the leak, the meter will drop to zero.

Battery drains are tough to find if there are multiple, intermittent leaks. Jiggle things a little and one will stop, but another will start somewhere else. Can be frustrating. Good luck, Dave
 
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RandyM
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Jim, to clarify, I hope,
with the ignition switch in the on position and no wire to the coil connected, I measured 5.8 volts to ground on the coil side of the switch.
I then connected the coil wire to the switch and disconnected it from the negative coil terminal. Between the wire and the terminal, I measured 5.72 volts. Finally, across the coil terminals I measured 5.65 volts.
 
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RandyM
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Dave and Al, I ll measure amps later this weekend as you have suggested.

I ll post back when I have it done.

Thanks for the help
 
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C.Amick
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Does the needle on there ammeter show a discharge after you shut the tractor off? I suspect the points in the voltage regular are sticking.
 
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Janicholson
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:44 am    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Interesting. If the last sentence indicated 5.65 volts, everything must have been connected switch on. I think there is too much resistance in the
switch or wires to the switch. With the coil disconnected at the distributor terminal, switch on, the entire supply side should read battery voltage
(about 6.3 volts) every where you put the meter to ground. From the starter switch to amp meter, to switch from switch, and to the coil on both sides,
and finally to the wire terminal at the place it was disconnected at the distributor. When all connected and points closed the supply side should still
be at 6, till the coil, then near nothing from coil to distributor. Jim
 
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LPakiz
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:58 am    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Digital Volt meters can be a great tool for some things, but their sensitivity makes them susceptible to errors in other uses.
I suggest using the smallest light bulb/socket/pigtail you can find. If the leak is really small, even a flashlight bulb would work.
Unhook one of the battery cables and connect the bulb between the battery post and the disconnected cable. All the leaking current must pass thru
the filament, making the bulb glow.
If the bulb glows with everything shut off, you will start to unhook things one at a time. On a Class 8 semi, I would usually start at the fuse box,
removing and replacing one fuse at a time. When the bulb goes out, you have found the faulty circuit. If you suspect the voltage regulator, unhook that
wire first.
BTW, a light bulb makes a great (UNBLOWABLE) fuse for finding dead shorts. A headlight bulb will carry about 4-5 amps and NEVER any more. Wire
it in place of a fuse or between the battery post and cable terminal. When the short is active, the headlight will illuminate. Unhook or wiggle wires until
the bulb flickers or goes out. You will be very close to the fault. This worked great under a semi trailer, with the sealed beam pointed at the wall, or
some place where it was easy to see.
 
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LPakiz
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:20 am    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

RandyM wrote:
(quoted from post at 23:07:21 11/08/19) I have consistently had a battery drain on the Farmall 230 for as long as I can remember. It something that I just lived with. When I refreshed the tractor several years ago, I replaced the entire wiring harness with one from a known vendor. The tractor is still 6-volt positive ground and I don t plan to change this one to 12-volt although I know it would be less troublesome.

Recently I replaced the old generator with one I had on the shelf (the one I had on it was from an old 6-volt truck, it was replaced with a a generator from a Farmall tractor). I had the replacement checked and rebrushed, then it run on the machine by a trusted local shop with the voltage regulator that I had on the the tractor (he was given both of them). The battery was new in early October. A few days back it would not start and I found the battery to be low. So following the advice here, I started tracing the wires to check for voltage drain. I used a digital multimeter.

First without disconnecting any wires and using a charged battery, each terminal was checked to ground and was consistently 6.4 volts (neg battery anode - starter - ammeter - VR Batt - VR Load - ignition switch - fuse - light switch terminal #1). So, I m concluding that there are no broken wires?

I went on to remove the wire at each terminal and check voltage between the wire and the terminal it was taken from. Between the battery anode and the starter cable I measured 5.1 volts so my thought is the circuit is drawing 1.3 volts someplace. This was consistent (+/-0.05 volts) all the way through the circuit up to and including at the Batt terminal of the VR. With the load wire disconnected from the VR, I read 0.0 volts between the wire and the L terminal. This changed to 6.4 volts when I turned on the light switch.

When I installed the VR I wire brushed the mounting holes and used star washers to be sure I had good grounding between the VR and the tractor. I have also been checking the charging output. I don t always get the 7-7.5 volts I would expect. At one point it was not producing any output at 2/3-3/4 throttle, but jumped to 7.3 when I idled it down. Then after charging it from this last non start, the output was running at 8 volts. My guess here is that I have an internal VR problem.

Next I continued to trace by this method after the ignition switch to the coil. With the switch ON, and the wire off the negative coil terminal I read 5.8 volts. Is this an indication of a switch issue? With the distributor wire off the coil, and the ignition switch on, I had a reading of 5.65 volts across the coil terminals. Does this indicate a coil problem?

Thanks in advance for your insight and assistance. If there are other checks I should make, please let me know.


I just reread the whole thread. If you are searching for a current leak from the battery, there is no point in looking at what voltage values are showing up where. That s irrelevant in this case. If your ignition switch is shut off, there should be no power anywhere in the ignition system, unless your switch is still allowing current to pass.
You need to insert a device into the circuit that visibly SHOWS the leak, when the leak is active. (See my rather lengthy post elsewhere in this thread)
 
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Dave41A
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:44 am    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Using a light bulb is an option to using a digital ammeter, but the smallest 6V bulb commonly available (1.8W) draws 0.3A to illuminate--that's 300mA. However, even a discount tool store ammeter can read down to the micro-amp scale. My $6 model has a 200 microamp scale and can "measure" to the 0.000001 of an amp. I make no claims as to the accuracy at that scale (although some cheap meters are surprisingly good), but for trouble shooting purposes all that is required is a "zero" or "not zero." The digital meter will work just fine in this situation, and will be more sensitive than a lightbulb.
 
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Dave41A
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:23 am    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I should add that be sure to work from your highest amperage scale *down* to the lowest. The 10A scale usually requires that you move the COM lead on your multi-meter to a different socket on the meter. If you get no reading on 10A then switch your leads over to the 1A scale and work down from there until you get a reading.
You probably already knew this but someone reading this years from now may not.

For an absolute level of safety, using 6V bulb for the initial test (to see if there is enough current to light a bulb) as LPakiz suggests, will work to see if you have a drain as high as 3-4A. However, if the bulb does *not* light, that does not mean you do not have a drain. Rather, it only means that drain is too weak to light the bulb. For anything smaller than 0.3A or so you'll need a meter.

I cannot over-emphasize that grounds are hard to chase down. It is a frustrating process, especially as some grounds seem to open and close on their own with vibration, humidity, etc. Good luck. Dave
 
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LPakiz
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:49 am    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Dave, You are absolutely right in that certain small wattage bulbs will not glow with a small amount of "leakage" and that a digital AMP meter would be better for really small battery drains. But you would need to understand electrical terms and theory to effectively use a digital AMP meter to find the leak. The bulb just makes it simple and foolproof, especially if you use a bulb with the correct voltage rating.

I use a dash light bulb (194?) and will progress to smaller and smaller bulbs, even bulbs of less than rated voltage. All that matters is that the bulb glows without burning out.
It just seemed to me that the OP wasn t tracking down the problem correctly.
 
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RandyM
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Thanks for all the input. I appreciate the help and the lessons. I do not think I have resolved the issue yet, but have done the following today:

Put three different flashlight bulbs between the negative battery anode and the cable to the starter working progressively down from 6 volt to 3 volt to 1.5 volt (based in the number of AA batteries each used). None of these lit up.

I did use the multimeter working from the highest amp setting down. I found a draw of 0.05 mA between the battery and the starter cable. I have not gone beyond that yet.
 
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Janicholson
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Farmall 230 battery drain Reply to specific post Reply with quote

.05 ma is an irrelevant amount. 1/1000 amp is a ma, so .05ma can be drawn for a year. Cars can draw 100 to 150ma to keep electronics alive. I have
seen self discharging batteries (new) that were hard to diagnose. I would disconnect the battery, charge it, measure the standing voltage after an hour
(still disconnected) then wait a day or two and measure again. After an hour it should be 6.3 (or a tiny bit more) It should not be below 6.25 after a
week! Jim
 
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