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01-12-2011, 09:03 AM #1
Wiring on a VE4 Wisconsin motor on Miller welder
I have a VE4 Wisconsin engine on my Miller Big Red. The welder works great! The motor works great. But I had to do some work to it and I must have miss placed the wires. So I m asking if anyone knows how to put the wires back on. The manual schematics are lacking in detail.
That or my alternator died and is not keeping the battery charged. It is a new commercial battery maybe one year of age.
Soon as I have this running I can finily finish my new floor for my shop.
Thanks for any help!
01-12-2011, 09:45 AM #2
If you mean the spark plug wires, here is a link. Wisconsin V4 firing order - SmokStak
If you mean generator/alternator/regulator wiring. depends on whose generator is on it. I'd put a 1-wire Delco 10SI on it ad gofrget it.
01-12-2011, 09:50 AM #3
thank you, but the firing order works fine. Its just to keep continuing the motor to run. It seems to run fine until the battery dies. I have to keep plugging it into my pickup to get it started and to keep it running.
01-12-2011, 11:05 AM #4
Sorry. I thought I might have got your trouble wrong. So, you have distributor and coil ignition, not magneto.
If you have an auto electric shop nearby, take them photos of your generator or alternator, and your regulator if you have an external regulator. They'll tell you which wire goes where. Somebody on this board could probably do the same. It charged the battery fine before disassembly?
01-12-2011, 11:22 AM #5
Is the Alternator getting its Excitation charge?. I had a problem in a similar scenario where a blown charge indicator lamp cut power to the alternator exciter winding.
01-12-2011, 02:28 PM #6
01-12-2011, 08:12 PM #7
01-13-2011, 03:00 AM #8
Make sure your battery is charged.
01-13-2011, 03:23 AM #9
thats pretty much what I was going to say, make sure its wired correctly and got 12V getting to it.
if its wired correctly and not getting 12V, just trace the wire back and find out why its open (blown bulb, broken wire etc..).
Don't connect the battery 12V directly to the exciter terminal tho!!, it needs to go through a load of 6 to 8 watts maximum (the lamp acts as the load to limit current). otherwise magic smoke may come out of the alternator
01-13-2011, 03:34 AM #10
It is an alternator that in two types (1-wire and 3-wire) was fitted to just about everything GM built up till the mid 1990s. They're simple to hook up, and if gotten in the 1-wire type requires no electrical connection other than the wire to the battery for charging.
If you want a representative article on how a GM 3-wire is hooked up (on a Land-Rover, but the idea is there) go have a look at:
Land Rover FAQ - Repair & Maintenance - Series - Electrical - Alternators & Generators - Alternative Alternators
01-13-2011, 04:11 AM #11
If you have a GM 3 wire alternator, many auto parts stores have an external diode kit that can be used to convert it to a 1 wire unit.
01-13-2011, 04:59 AM #12
My understanding from what I have read is that 1 wire alternators don't charge at low revs. The context was in relation to testing at engine idle but it may also be a problem if the machine doesn't rev hard
01-13-2011, 05:27 AM #13My understanding from what I have read is that 1 wire alternators don't charge at low revs
For the OP, charging at idle is mute.
01-13-2011, 06:22 AM #14
The Wisconsin VE is a pretty old engine family and it's unlikely that it has the adapter for a belt-driven alternator. The oldest models used a conventional DC generator, just like your dad's '58 Chevy, but it's gear driven off the valve gear train, with the distributor mounted to the end of it.
Later models used an integral flywheel alternator, with the distributor close-coupled to the engine in a more conventional manner. The flywheel alternators use permanent magnets in the flywheel and do not require excitation. There are two versions of these systems. The earlier one uses one bigger rectifier-regulator module to control charging output. The later systems use two little electronic modules, a rectifier module and, surprise, a regulator module. I think in the back of my head that there are two versions of these modules, too, but I'm not positive.
Confused yet? If only things were so simple. Some gasoline engine driven welders don't have a conventional starter or battery charging generator at all. Instead, they apply battery voltage to the machine and it motors the engine until it starts. These systems have a separate charging winding internal to the welding machine itself. My Wisconsin-powered Hobart is set up this way. I don't know anything about Millers but I doubt yours uses this system. You'd almost certainly have two batteries and a magneto ignition if you did.
Still, you won't get any good answers to your questions until we know just exactly what you have. This may be Katie-bar-the-door after the cow is gone, but if you have the flywheel system, you probably don't want to run the thing too much until you have it wired right. Those little modules can have a very limited sense of humor.
Assignment for James Kain: Figure out what you have, and report back.
To simplify, some visual cues: You have four choices here. One, the distributor is mounted at the back end of a generator that is about four inches in diameter and eight inches or so long. (The generator looks kind of like a starter, but with the distributor mounted to it.) Two, the distributor is up close to the engine's flywheel and gear train. There are three wires coming out from under the flywheel, probably two black and one red. Three, there is a belt pulley at the end of the distributor drive, and a short belt drives a conventional car-style alternator. Four, there is no separate starter motor or generator at all.
01-13-2011, 06:31 AM #15
As I said, the information I read was in relation to an issue at idle but I think there was discussion about a certain rev range but I cannot recall for sure.
I think it is best to solve the issue with the current set up than look to make replacements. Based on the OP the unit was working prior to it being worked on.
EDIT: I was typing my response when the previous post was made, so my post may be of little relevance. However, it does support my last sentence.
Last edited by Mayhem; 01-13-2011 at 06:35 AM. Reason: I didn't see the last post
01-13-2011, 06:41 AM #16
The V4 Wisonsins came in countless configurations. I've worked on many with belt driven alternators/generators.
If the engine fails internally at some point my advice is to get rid of it. Replace it with something designed in the past 40 years that can operate reliably. If it does what you need certainly keep using it.
01-16-2011, 03:07 PM #17
Well, lots of good answers. But here is the problem, the wires on the unit by the ault. are fine. The wires up at the gauge and starter and power switch. Is it possible to fry a gauge?
Alright, here are a few photos to help explain.
I dont think there is supposed to be oil on this?
01-16-2011, 09:32 PM #18
wow thats old, lot older than I was expecting!. looks like a DC generator more than a Alternator.
if you don't get 12V DC coming out of the regulator, pull it off and find the 2 wires coming directly out of the generator and see if you have 12V, if so, the reg is gone, if not, the generator needs a rebuild (brushes are often a problem)
I'd say the ignition coil is buggered if dielectric oil is coming out past the HT lead! probably full of PCB's too! nasty.
Gauges can fail but as long as it shows continuity with a multi-meter it shouldn't be a problem.
01-18-2011, 06:55 AM #19
If the wire on the right hand side terminal of the gauge with the blue pigtail is supplying the ignition without you having to use jumper wires to bypass the gauge and switch then the gauge should be fine. The wiring in pic 4 is set up correctly, but I'm assuming the wire on the right side terminal of the gauge that goes off the left side of the pic makes its way around to the terminal on the back side of the regulator.
If you get power to the terminal on the regulator then the problem is in the regulator or generator.
Remember, those old 6 volt systems were positive ground originally. If the battery is in backwards either the generator is going to try to discharge the battery, or die trying. That is unless someone was able to repolarize the regualtor, making it negative ground, that's a bit of a minefield there, don't ask how I know. In any case the help of a good auto electric rebuilder is invaluable.
Hope this helps.
01-18-2011, 07:05 AM #20
James, one thing at a time. If the engine is running, the ignition coil is working. If the engine stops running, the coil may be opening and failing to produce spark, or, as you guessed, the battery may be flat because the generator isn't charging. If you immediately put another battery into the machine and it starts right back up, the coil isn't the problem, but if it's losing the magic juice it's life is probably limited. Pick up a spare the nest time you are at the auto store.
You do have the oldest of the systems I mentioned, something I sort of suspected. Is this a 6V or 12V system? In many ways, this is the most robust of the charging systems available for that engine. But as old as it is, it's not unreasonable to expect failures.
I don't know what caused the system to stop charging, but I got the impression from your earlier comments that it was working OK until something was disturbed. If so, it is less likely that some part of the system failed and more likely that a connection was improperly made, or missed.
Does your ammeter point to the left (discharge) when the engine is running and straight in the middle when switched OFF? If so, it's OK and the problem lies elsewhere. With the ignition switch ON but engine not running (and with a good battery) do you have 12V at the BAT terminal of the voltage regulator? You should. If not, trace that circuit back to the battery to see where the problem lies. That lead should go through the ammeter to the battery. That's where your charging current comes from. The regulator should have two more connections, FIELD and ARM (armature). These should be connected to the appropriate terminals of the generator. Believe it or not, that's about all there is to the connections, unless there's ground strap or wire in there somewhere.
Try cleaning the connections one by one. Remove the fastener (screw or nut) and clean away any rust or corrosion so that a good metal to metal connection is made. One possible quick fix is to try repolarizing the generator. With the engine not running, and using a piece of scrap wire, quickly connect the BAT terminal of the regulator to the FLD terminal. Just a quick touch should do it, not a permanent connection. If the generator now charges, you are done. If not, you have to dig deeper. The generator brushes may be worn, sticking, or making poor contact - or a combination of the three. The regulator contacts may be burned or corroded. If they're not to bad, they may be able to be filed clean. If none of these are successful at getting the system to charge, I suggest you take it to a dependable local starter rebuild shop. Old as that thing is, it has earned a good rebuild.
But be aware - if you remove the generator, you will have to retime it upon installation to get the distributor in correct orientation. If you don't have the timing instructions and the know-how, I suggest leaving it alone until you do.
Too bad you're not closer. I think I have on of those generator/distributor units on a shelf somewhere.
EDIT: Looking at your picture again, it appears that there is no connection to the terminals on the regulator. There's that blue wire that disappears somewhere behind the generator. I assume that is going to the ignition coil? I can't tell much about your wiring in the detail pic of the back of the gauge panel. The short fat wire from the start switch should go to one side of the ammeter. That's all that should be connected there. At the other side of the ammeter, there should be two wires, one to the ignition switch and the other to the BAT terminal of the regulator. On the other side of the ignition switch, that wire goes to the ignition resistor (if used) and the coil.