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Thread: Charging System Troubleshooting--Blown Ignition Light Fuse?

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    Senior Member Funding Member ACHiPo's Avatar
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    Charging System Troubleshooting--Blown Ignition Light Fuse?

    When I was driving yesterday I noticed the ammeter was at -25A. When I got to where I was going I unplugged the fan and the ammeter jumped to +25A with the engine running without the fan. I plugged the fan back in and drove home. The ammeter read 0 when the fan wasn't on. When the fan turned on the ammeter pegged negative before coming back to -25A.

    I spoke to Peter and Doug this morning. Doug pointed me to the troubleshooting instructions on the ERA website. One of the first steps is to confirm that the ignition light is on when in the Accessory position. It wasn't. I checked the wiring diagram and found the fuse. It is blown. I replaced it, tried again, and the light came on briefly then went out. The replacement fuse was blown. The fan circuit fuse is fine.

    It seems it doesn't make any sense to further troubleshoot the charging system until I find and fix the short that is causing the ignition light fuse to blow.

    Suggestions on where to look?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    GROUCHY FUC***G OLD APE Funding Member Silverback's Avatar
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    I'm sorry but this is one I cannot help with. I hate electrical issues and I'm not any good at solving them.

    Best of luck to you on this.

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    Senior Member Funding Member ACHiPo's Avatar
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    I jumpered the I&S wires on the VR connector and saw what looked like normal performance on the ammeter. This should indicate that the alternator is ok, so I replaced the regulator, but no joy. I'm wondering if it could be a battery issue? Gonna pull the alternator and battery and have them both tested.

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    Senior Member Funding Member DanEC's Avatar
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    I really hate to suggest this Evan - but short of getting personal help from Bob at ERA I would post on the other forum and try to attract Patrickt's attention. I'm not sure how it fits in with his being a lawyer but he's some sort of electrical semi-genius and knows the ERA electrical system inside and out.
    Enough about public enemy No. 1 - Facebook. Fight fake news - watch One America News (OAN)

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    Senior Member Funding Member ACHiPo's Avatar
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    Dan,
    I’ve already done that. I’m also hoping for a response from Bob P.

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    Administrator Funding Member PaulProe's Avatar
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    Evan
    not sure the serial number of your car, but on many ERA's, that same fuse feeds the turn signal flasher. Maybe a bad flasher causing a short? Try tracing the wire from the fuse to the various items. Maybe pull the flasher and try again to see if the fuse blows again

    Paul

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    Senior Member Funding Member ACHiPo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulProe View Post
    Evan
    not sure the serial number of your car, but on many ERA's, that same fuse feeds the turn signal flasher. Maybe a bad flasher causing a short? Try tracing the wire from the fuse to the various items. Maybe pull the flasher and try again to see if the fuse blows again

    Paul
    Paul,
    My car is 824. Fuse 3 is the one that is blowing, and the gauges and wiper switch are in series with it. My fuel gauge has been flaky for a few weeks. I'd planned to troubleshoot this weekend, but fixing the charging issue took priority. I'm now wondering if I have a short to ground on the fuel gauge sender unit. My tach also stopped working (frozen at 2200 RPM), but that happened after the charging issue showed up, so I suspect it is a result of the blown fuse, not the cause of the charging issue.

    Evan

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    Administrator Funding Member Ron77's Avatar
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    Evan,

    If you have the wiring schematic for your car see what all that fuse feeds and if you can get to were the leads fan out to each circuit take one at a time and check it with an ohm meter. If you don't have a meter and can do so disconnect one leg at a time and run the car and see if it still blows the fuse. You may need to get a bunch of fuses if you have to do it this way. It sounds as if you may have a grounded lead in one of the legs of that circuit. Sometimes these type of troubles can be a pain to find and other times you get lucky and find the problem right away. Good luck and I hope you find it soon.

    Ron


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    Senior Member Funding Member ACHiPo's Avatar
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    Patrick from the other site has been helpful. I have a new hypothesis to follow--a short to ground in my fuel gauge & wiper circuit (on the same fuse as the ignition). I have a schematic, but it's like having a dictionary in French--I can make out parts of it, but I am definitely not fluent. I hated linear circuit analysis in school. I can read blueprints and drawings easily and understand function to troubleshoot. Schematics are like a foreign language to me.

    I've got a couple other weird things going on that I didn't think were related, but since that "I" circuit includes gauges, maybe there's a clue.

    My fuel gauge has been flaky for a couple weeks. I suspect a bad fuel sender. I was planning to troubleshoot this weekend, but resolving the charging issue took priority.

    A few miles after the charging issue first started yesterday, my tach stopped working--it's frozen at 2200 RPM. I suspect this is a result of the blown fuse, which would interrupt voltage to the tach.

    Looking at the schematic, if there's a short to ground in the fuel sender, that could explain the blown fuse, although it's not obvious to me the source of enough current to blow a 15A fuse. It also looks like the wiper switch and motor could affect that circuit.

    One other observation--after I replaced fuse 3 again I turned the key to the first position and the ignition light went on briefly. At the same time the ammeter jumped to about -15A then went back to 0 as the light went out (and fuse blew). This seems to indicate the ammeter is reading correctly, and that I have a short with enough voltage to drive 15A current, presumably to ground.
    Last edited by ACHiPo; 05-12-2019 at 07:50 AM.

  10. #10
    Just for info Evan, i once got a car with a diode in the alternator that had blown…. with massive short.... of course i don't know your setup...
    just a thought … ???

  11. #11
    Senior Member Funding Member ACHiPo's Avatar
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    It's not the gauges (I removed them from the circuit), it's not the alternator (replaced, no luck), it's not the voltage regulator (replaced, no luck). It could be the battery I suppose, but it seems more likely that it is a short someplace. I broke the visor bumping it when I pushed the car back into its spot. I still have to reassemble the fuel gauge, which seems like it will require me to remove the steering wheel and dash so I can get the nut and star washer back on it.

    At this point I'm too pissed and disgusted to continue, so am taking a break.

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    Senior Member KING Nomad Funding Member nomad's Avatar
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    I feel your pain ACHiPo, we have all been there done it.

    I think it's a Ground, something that Fiberglass cars are prone to.

    I'd consider removing the Ground Strap or hopefully Ground STRAPS to the frame, we can't have too many, and do some polishing.

    We tend to over think these gremlins that pop up in out Toys.

    Speaking from experience here!

    Removing the steering wheel and dash sound like a REAL pain.

    Sigh..................

    You'll overcome this, it's all a Test we didn't sign up for.

    Take a break, down a liter of Owl's Roost Bourbon,

    everything will be as clerr as a bull.

    That's my FREE advice, and it's usually worth exactly what you paid for it................................
    Last edited by nomad; 05-12-2019 at 04:38 PM.
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    GROUCHY FUC***G OLD APE Funding Member Silverback's Avatar
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    As Nomad stated most of us have had an electrical issue at one time or another.

    Mine was a miss at anything above an idle. Drove me crazy. Replace the distributor, the spark plug wires and even replace the MSD box. Nope, not a damn thing worked. Still missed.

    A guy I knew from the Viper forum mentioned that the MSD system is very sensitive to voltage inputs. He told to remove the fan belt (I only had one) and driver it around the block. Yep, solved the problem so I went and bought a new alternator and tried it. F*cker still missed. I was ready to call a tow truck and have it towed to a shop. He then said to replace the voltage regulator. Problem solved. Spent hundreds of dollars replacing all the crap above and it ended up being a $20.00 (or less) part.

    From then on I always carried a spare voltage regulator in my parts and tool bag. And what I found out was that the trickle charger would screw up the voltage regulator. It was hard wired into the car, so I ripped it out and never used one again.

    So, yes I feel your pain, but you will get it resolved and all will be well and you can add it to your lessons learned bank.

  14. #14
    GROUCHY FUC***G OLD APE Funding Member Silverback's Avatar
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    And for the record, I think Nomad's reply qualifies for his one serious post for this year.

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    Administrator Funding Member Ron77's Avatar
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    Evan,

    There is nothing that is harder to isolate than a darn electrical problem. I have walked off from some for a day or so in the past and then went back when I wasn't so disgusted and fed up and I would usually find it soon. Just break the circuits down in your mind and don't necessarily discount those that you have replaced parts in as there is no quality control any more and I have replaced more than one part and later after becoming frustrated found the new part was no good. Nomad could be right about a lack of ground but the juice has to go somewhere in order to blow the fuse and as fast as you said it blows I think you must have almost a dead short somewhere. If you have a spare battery you can use, try it to test and see if that is the problem before you spend money on a new one or if you can load test the one in the car do so. If the battery is good then you need a meter to start checking leads in all the circuits that fuse handles to find a short.

    Ron


    MY ALBUMS

  16. #16
    Senior Member Funding Member ACHiPo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomad View Post
    I feel your pain ACHiPo, we have all been there done it.

    I think it's a Ground, something that Fiberglass cars are prone to.

    I'd consider removing the Ground Strap or hopefully Ground STRAPS to the frame, we can't have too many, and do some polishing.

    We tend to over think these gremlins that pop up in out Toys.

    Speaking from experience here!

    Removing the steering wheel and dash sound like a REAL pain.

    Sigh..................

    You'll overcome this, it's all a Test we didn't sign up for.

    Take a break, down a liter of Owl's Roost Bourbon,

    everything will be as clerr as a bull.

    That's my FREE advice, and it's usually worth exactly what you paid for it................................
    Nomad,
    I took some of your advice last night without even knowing it as I stopped looking at this and the other site and focused on what I'm good at--a double Auchentoshan 12 year old soothed the beast a bit.

    I've thought about the grounding, but it seems that would not cause a fuse to blow, just something not to work? Regardless will need to move the car over to the shop to get it up on a lift if I need to access the ground straps. Will keep down the short path for a while before undertaking that.

    Evan

  17. #17
    Senior Member Funding Member ACHiPo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron77 View Post
    Evan,

    There is nothing that is harder to isolate than a darn electrical problem. I have walked off from some for a day or so in the past and then went back when I wasn't so disgusted and fed up and I would usually find it soon. Just break the circuits down in your mind and don't necessarily discount those that you have replaced parts in as there is no quality control any more and I have replaced more than one part and later after becoming frustrated found the new part was no good. Nomad could be right about a lack of ground but the juice has to go somewhere in order to blow the fuse and as fast as you said it blows I think you must have almost a dead short somewhere. If you have a spare battery you can use, try it to test and see if that is the problem before you spend money on a new one or if you can load test the one in the car do so. If the battery is good then you need a meter to start checking leads in all the circuits that fuse handles to find a short.

    Ron
    Ron,
    I've got a meter and the next step is to checking for things that are grounded that shouldn't be. Bob Putnam suggested pulling the ignition light and removing it from the circuit, which sounds like it won't be too difficult (famous last words). If that checks out, I'm just going to run the entire circuit and check points to ground.

    Evan

  18. #18
    Senior Member Funding Member ACHiPo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron77 View Post
    Evan,

    There is nothing that is harder to isolate than a darn electrical problem. I have walked off from some for a day or so in the past and then went back when I wasn't so disgusted and fed up and I would usually find it soon. Just break the circuits down in your mind and don't necessarily discount those that you have replaced parts in as there is no quality control any more and I have replaced more than one part and later after becoming frustrated found the new part was no good. Nomad could be right about a lack of ground but the juice has to go somewhere in order to blow the fuse and as fast as you said it blows I think you must have almost a dead short somewhere. If you have a spare battery you can use, try it to test and see if that is the problem before you spend money on a new one or if you can load test the one in the car do so. If the battery is good then you need a meter to start checking leads in all the circuits that fuse handles to find a short.

    Ron
    Ron,
    I've got a meter and the next step is to checking for things that are grounded that shouldn't be. Bob Putnam suggested pulling the ignition light and removing it from the circuit, which sounds like it won't be too difficult (famous last words). If that checks out, I'm just going to run the entire circuit and check points to ground.

    Evan

  19. #19
    Senior Member Shootnride's Avatar
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    Did you get this resolved Evan ?

    Ted
    Some people raise the IQ in the room when they enter.......others when they leave

  20. #20
    Senior Member Funding Member ACHiPo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shootnride View Post
    Did you get this resolved Evan ?

    Ted
    Nope. Still in electrical purgatory!

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