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#128172 - 11/07/07 5:52 am Ammeter Problem  
Joined: Oct 2007
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Buster Conrod Offline
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uniontown, pa, usa
Well, another weird problem. I had an intermittent electrical problem where I would lose all power, just like a blown fuse. Then it would be OK. The ammeter also acted strangely, showing a 2 amp discharge even when nothing was on. Traced the problem with a voltmeter and finally disconnected the ammeter and it STILL showed a 2 amp discharge! Found out that the ammeter itself was internally broken - if you pinch the terminals towards the center a little with your fingers, it has continuity. I put the in and out wires of the ammeter on one terminal so I can ride, but it is useful on a Triumph to have an operating ammeter. Any reasonably priced rugged substitutes out there? The ones for cars generally have a +60 to -60 amp range, way too broad for our purposes. I don't think they are meant to be out in the weather either. A combination ammeter/voltmeter that fits the hole would be nice but this may be wishful thinking on my part. Any ideas, guys? Also, I have not opened the patient yet; what is inside an ammeter? Anyone ever repair one?


1970 TR6R Dry Frame Silver and Blue, Prettiest bike ever....
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#128173 - 11/07/07 7:59 am Re: Ammeter Problem  
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Tiger Offline
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Melbourne Australia
The correct ammeter is a Lucas 12-0-12, there are pretty much unobtainable OEM but repops are available on eBay.
I was once told that an ammeter can be glycerine filled [like a pressure gauge] which would stop it vibrating to pieces.
As far as dismantling goes, the last one I tried to strip had a one piece moulded case.


1969 TR6R
7.62 x 51 is not a maths puzzle.
#128174 - 11/07/07 9:19 am Re: Ammeter Problem  
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649 Offline
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australia
just bypass it...leave it there as a prop...cant really say they're needed if the system is up to scratch


1970 tr6r dryframe
#128175 - 11/07/07 9:29 am Re: Ammeter Problem  
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Crunch down 3 up Offline
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I have to agree with 649. The ammeter on all of my Triumphs work much the same - when the engine is running the needles bounce all over the place and tell me nothing. The only use I get from the one on my 1960 T120 (magneto spark)to remind me when I have left the lights on when I kill the motor (I run the lights to return a bit of charge to the battery as I have a 12V system that doesn't charge the battery until I turn on the lights - that way I do not need to run a zener diode or regulator).

#128176 - 11/07/07 10:21 am Re: Ammeter Problem  
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paulberry Offline
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Stamford
Buster

Original Lucas 12-0-12 ammeters are available here in England.
I bought one myself earlier this year. Fitted it in the headlight and it looks very pretty.
About a week later the bike wouldn't start as the fuse was blown. When something fails always check the last job done, so I took the headlamp off and found that the inners had fell out of the brand new Lucas ammeter shorting against the headlamp shell.
I glued it back together with araldite and booted the exposed terminals. Haven't had a problem since but as Crunch says above 50mph the needle just bounces around erratically.

Paul


1969 T100S
1955 Tiger Cub
#128177 - 11/07/07 10:30 am Re: Ammeter Problem  
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Blapper Offline
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Hmmm, take something is of very limited use and very fragile that all current has to pass through and mount it on the end of a badly vibrating part. I'm with 649 for sure.

Blapper redwine

#128178 - 11/07/07 12:15 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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Buster Conrod Offline
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uniontown, pa, usa
I see that I am far from the first to have this problem! I'll take your sage advice and ignore it and leave it there to plug up the hole in the headlight. My charging system seems fine. I guess that as an information freak I would have liked to have that combination voltmeter/ammeter that exactly fits the hole and is made of the same material that they make pay telephones from-indestructium or whatever. But it's really made of imaginarium/unobtainium.


1970 TR6R Dry Frame Silver and Blue, Prettiest bike ever....
#128179 - 11/07/07 5:58 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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2twins Offline
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I ordered an Indian made ammeter (Minda) for the modern Royal Enfield from the RE distributor in Minnesota. Around $50 delevered I think. I had to remove the small bulb holder assembly for clearance, and enlarge the hole a little bit for fit. Made use of an inner o-ring from a dust excluder sleeve (front forks) and a bit of goo to mount it. Appearance is not as original. But I have an ammeter that gives good information with steady read-out at all speeds (at least in daylight wink ). This is mounted on my '66 TR6R.


Woody 2Twins
#128180 - 11/07/07 6:20 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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RF Whatley Online content
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North Georgia, USA
Buster -
I've always found the information provided by the ammeter to be exceedingly useful. I assure you that Triumph did not spend the extra dollars on parts and labor to install the ammeter if they didn't feel like it was worth it.

Often times, the existing ammeter can be disassembled and repaired at home using a sharp knife (or a Dremel tool) and a steady hand. Replacements list at about $80, so for my money, I can chip away a lot of adhesive for $80 !! I did this to mine and the original equipment Lucas unit is once again working like a champ on my 1966 model.

If you decide to do this repair may I suggest you reinstall the rear (bottom) plate with an adhesive that is not as strong as the one Lucas chose. This so you can get back into the unit again.

If you decide not to do the repair or replacement, then electrically speaking, the repair (as was quoted above) is to fasten the 2 wires together with a single #8 screw and nut. However, this connection will need more insulation than a couple of twists of electrical tape to keep it out of "harm's way". May I suggest a piece of rubber hose or heat shrink tubing; something with substantial wall thickness.

bigt


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#128181 - 11/07/07 6:23 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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triton thrasher Online content
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I use that- best ever ammeter! Probably the best-made part on those Indian bikes.

Quote:
Originally posted by 2twins:
[QB] I ordered an Indian made ammeter (Minda) for the modern Royal Enfield


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
#128182 - 11/07/07 8:13 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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Tiger Offline
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Dry ammeter works fine on my TR6 and I share Richard's concern re deleting it, particularly if running a zener and Boyer.
I will try the glycerine filling idea on my existing 8-0-8 when a new 12-0-12 arrives ex the USA, will publish the result.


1969 TR6R
7.62 x 51 is not a maths puzzle.
#128183 - 11/07/07 10:28 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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Buster Conrod Offline
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Thanks for all your advice! You guys are great! I ordered a $30 Chinese made meter that allegedly fits the hole, just for the purpose of knowing what the system is doing; I just got this bike on the road after many years, and I need to know what the charging system is up to before I am confident. I will try to repair the Lucas while the Rucas is in there. After I am on a more personal basis with the charging system, I have no problem with running around without an ammeter, I do it in/on other vehicles all the time. A permanent voltmeter would be nice, but I may just use my old trick of duct taping my multimeter to the gauges and temporarily wiring it into the system, then driving around a while to see what is up. Too bad no one makes a shunt type ammeter that fits the hole - shunt types are not in series and so don't lead to "failure to proceed" if they bite the big chimichanga.

Now, the big question; how do I get my Lucas ammeter out without damaging anything, like my brand new shiny headlight shell? Thanks again, you guys are an amazing resource.


1970 TR6R Dry Frame Silver and Blue, Prettiest bike ever....
#128184 - 11/07/07 11:55 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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HughdeMann Online content
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Does all this mean there's something wrong with my ammeter? At anything over about 2000 rpm the needle is steady as a government paycheck just to the right of 0. At night, the bright filament drops the charging rate for about 30 seconds, then back to normal. How can I fix this?


Hugh: Proof the Dodo is not extinct
1964 Bonneville
A couple others
#128185 - 11/08/07 8:25 am Re: Ammeter Problem  
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649 Offline
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id hazard a guess the ammeter was a throwback to the days before either reliable charging systems (dc generators and mechanical regulators)or decent voltage regulators, where you needed to see if it was charging at all, or overcharging...
what exactly are you going to do if your ammeter goes negative while riding anyway....stop and replace the alternator or rectifier?
when I first got my bike I was happy the ammeter seemed to be swinging in the slighty positive territory when riding (in the midst of the vibration)...when I pulled the headlight out after a few weeks I found it wasnt even connected!!!


1970 tr6r dryframe
#128186 - 11/08/07 9:13 am Re: Ammeter Problem  
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Quote:
Originally posted by 649:

what exactly are you going to do if your ammeter goes negative while riding anyway....
At night switch back to the pilot light and check mirrors before bothering to use the rear brake, easy done and will get you home.
During daylight stay off off the back brake as above and you have at least three hours to get home off a good battery, if traveling with another bike swap batteries after two hours and range is extended indefinetly.
No ammeter and an open circuit zener failure means a boiled battery and if using a Boyer very probably terminal failure of the ignition system.
I can make a condenser out of two licence plates and a plastic bag but cobbling up a Boyer box is beyond me. beerchug


1969 TR6R
7.62 x 51 is not a maths puzzle.
#128187 - 11/08/07 11:14 am Re: Ammeter Problem  
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Quote:
when I first got my bike I was happy the ammeter seemed to be swinging in the slighty positive territory when riding (in the midst of the vibration)...when I pulled the headlight out after a few weeks I found it wasnt even connected!!!
redwine

#128188 - 11/08/07 12:02 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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649 Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tiger:
Quote:
Originally posted by 649:

what exactly are you going to do if your ammeter goes negative while riding anyway....
At night switch back to the pilot light and check mirrors before bothering to use the rear brake, easy done and will get you home.
During daylight stay off off the back brake as above and you have at least three hours to get home off a good battery, if traveling with another bike swap batteries after two hours and range is extended indefinetly.
No ammeter and an open circuit zener failure means a boiled battery and if using a Boyer very probably terminal failure of the ignition system.
I can make a condenser out of two licence plates and a plastic bag but cobbling up a Boyer box is beyond me. beerchug
how would you read an ammeter at night?...and I think you'd notice the headlight going dim anyways....only here could an ammeter become a topic of hot debate 2 weeks out from a federal election smile


1970 tr6r dryframe
#128189 - 11/08/07 5:28 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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RF Whatley Online content
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RF Whatley  Online Content
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Quote:
Originally posted by HughdeMann:
Does all this mean there's something wrong with my ammeter? At anything over about 2000 rpm the needle is steady as a government paycheck just to the right of 0. At night, the bright filament drops the charging rate for about 30 seconds, then back to normal. How can I fix this?
Hugh -
You'd first have to tell us the model of the bike you're discussing and then the details of the charging system.


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#128190 - 11/08/07 5:39 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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RF Whatley Online content
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Quote:
Originally posted by 649:
how would you read an ammeter at night?...and I think you'd notice the headlight going dim anyways...
In the US we have the niffty things called street lamps. You don't need to read your ammeter continuously, like do your speedo when a cop is following close behind you. Just once every couple of minutes.

The object of the ammeter is to already have noticed the problem well BEFORE the lights start dimming. An ammeter allows you to stop and make sure the wires haven't come unplugged from the rectifier or some other bone-head simple issue that has a much higher likelihood of occurance than the scenarios you mention.

If it's something you can't fix in 3 minutes, then as Tiger says, you turn OFF the headlamp and head for home. An ignition system will run for hours off a fully charged battery.... if you don't wait for the dimming to set in.


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#128191 - 11/08/07 5:40 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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HughdeMann Online content
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Beautiful North Carolina
Sorry R.F., that was meant to be a joke! smile It's a 64 Bonneville, with your conversion to 12 volts, and a Tympanium. I use an exit light battery rated for 10 amp hours. I can discharge it for an hour with the headlight, and it will re-charge during a thirty minute ride.
This proves then, even a blind squirrel can find the occasional acorn!


Hugh: Proof the Dodo is not extinct
1964 Bonneville
A couple others
#128192 - 11/08/07 6:06 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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RF Whatley Online content
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RF Whatley  Online Content
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North Georgia, USA
Well, there's your answer...

The Tynpanium limits current to the battery to a set amount and discards the excess as heat. When it "sees" you turn ON the headlamp, which turns the existing battery charge rate into a discharge, it relaxes and allows more current to flow to the battery to get the charge back up to the pre-determined "set amount". That's why you see the needle dip into the negative charge region, and then bounce back over to the positive charge region.

Bottom line: The Tymp is doing its job and working properly.

bigt


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#128193 - 11/08/07 6:48 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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Ottawa, Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by Buster Conrod:
<SNIP>
Now, the big question; how do I get my Lucas ammeter out without damaging anything, like my brand new shiny headlight shell? Thanks again, you guys are an amazing resource.
The Lucas ammeter is held into the headlamp shell by its 4 little tabs, bent over from inside.

Simply remove the headlamp, and look up at the ammeter ... you will see the 4 little tabs. Using a small slot screwdriver, bend the tabs straight, and then withdraw the ammeter. You may find the rubber O-ring under the ammeter bezel is stuck to the shell, so you may have to run a thin razor blade or X-acto around it to let it come free.

... Gregg


Spyder Integrated Technologies
Lucas, BTH, & Miller Magneto & Dynamo Restoration
SMITHS Chronometric Restoration
magneto@spyder-it.com
#128194 - 11/08/07 7:34 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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triton thrasher Online content
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scotland
Quote:
Originally posted by 649:how would you read an ammeter at night?... [/QB]
My ones are translucent and light leaking into the shell from the back of the headlamp illuminates the ammeter.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
#128195 - 11/08/07 10:55 pm Re: Ammeter Problem  
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2Twins, I bought the same model of "Minda" ammeter for my 3TA, I also trimmed down the extension piece for the light and I fitted a small bright blue LED with series resistor inside the stub, the LED is wired to come on with the ignition, now I just need to make a similar lighting arrangement for the modified watch that I use as a clock.

There have been many postings with regards to the quality of "original / pattern" ammeters on certain web based selling sites and after having seen at many of them at 1st hand, my 2c is that they aren't worth diddy squat.


99% of carb problems are electrical.

1959 3TA

BMW R1150 Oilhead

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