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  1. 2 of 4 I-5 relays activating, traction motor not starting. 
    #1
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    Hello I just purchased a GE I-5 which is great condition for a 40+ year old machine. This is my first experience with these cool tractors. There is very little rust corrosion, even in the battery boxes! It came without batteries, so I used some old leftovers from other EV projects to set up the required 36v (two 6 volt & two 12 volt). The schematic I used to put them in the pic attached. Nothing happened with the first turn of the key, so I cleaned the mini fuse connections up in the battery box on the firewall. The front lift, lights, & horn now work, along with the PTO socket (snowblower that came with the tractor started right up). I believe the safety switches on the seat & brake are in working order. The problem is with the main traction motor. Nothing happens in forward or reverse, & the red light next to the switch does not illuminate. I'm now working through various connections & checking for looseness and/or corrosion. When the tractor key is turned on, I see that (2) of (4) relays activate (in photo attached), but the other two do not. Should all four activate when the key is turned on? I haven't found any combination of switch sequences that makes those two relays activate, so am wondering if that is a clue as to why there is no power to the motor. I believe the motor is ok. When I had the main power wires off for cleaning, I applied 12v from a separate battery to the motor terminals & it ran. Just looking for advice on the relays, or advice where to start if I'm on the wrong track. Thank you.

    Jeff
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  2. Re: 2 of 4 I-5 relays activating, traction motor not starting. 
    #2
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    Update: I really don't know why but the I-5 came to life tonight. I was wiggling the seat switch while pushing the "throttle" & it just kicked in. I'd done this many times, but this time I was at the same time pushing the cruise control button randomly. Anyway it was a joy to take it out for a short drive.
     
     

  3. Re: 2 of 4 I-5 relays activating, traction motor not starting. 
    #3
    Senior Member FarmallMan's Avatar
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    Hi Jeff,

    The two relays that were reliably activating are the two RTN (safety) relays. The relay closest to them is the FR (forward-reverse) relay and next to that is the FW (field weakening) relay. The FW relay should activate when the motor starts. IIRC, the FR relay will close when the direction switch is in reverse and the motor starts. However, the reverse light should come on immediately when the switch is moved into the reverse position. If not then my suspicion is that there is a funky molex connector connection somewhere (I'm guessing plug 5, based on the schematic in the HSM).

    If you haven't already, download the Homeowner's Service Manual (HSM) - http://www.elec-trak.com/forum/showt...Service-Manual You'll find it an invaluable resource.

    Nick
     
     

  4. Re: 2 of 4 I-5 relays activating, traction motor not starting. 
    #4
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    Nick,

    Thanks I did find the Manual last night, & am starting to go through it. The I-5 is running now, but one of the two 12v deep cycles is pretty lame so I have to top it up often. Back to the relays, the #4 (furthest to the right) still has one lead off that was removed & taped off by previous owner. I guess that's why the rev light doesn't come on. I'm assuming that if I get the #4 FW relay connected & working, the motor will ease up to speed, rather than be full on & kind of jerky? I'll dig into the manual on this.

    May I ask about the onboard charger humming? Searches on here say it SHOULD hum. It's about as loud as a barbers electric clippers, I guess that is normal? I don't dare charge the pack as a string though with one battery being so bad, trying to find a used one locally.

    Thank you for the response.

    Jeff
     
     

  5. Re: 2 of 4 I-5 relays activating, traction motor not starting. 
    #5
    Senior Member FarmallMan's Avatar
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    Hi Jeff,

    On the side panel in the front compartment, there should be a model/serial number plate. You will need to reference the E20 diagrams, and you would use the model number to determine which sub model of E20 (I5) you have, to make sure you're referencing the correct schematic.

    If the forward-reverse switch is working correctly, and doesn't have any disconnected wires, then the reverse light should come on immediately when the switch is moved to the rear. It uses the second set of contacts in the switch. There is a fairly reasonable chance that the reverse light may be burned out. You can check that out with a volt meter. The FW (reverse) RELAY will not actuate until you start press the pedal down.

    The FW relay disables the last three field weakened speeds (speeds 6, 7, and 8) when the control card senses (through the shunt) that the motor is pulling too much current. By disabling these speeds, it can automatically reduce the current draw to a more reasonable level. This doesn't have anything to do with the starting sequence, but that lead shouldn't be allowed to float like that. Verify that it is either wire 40 or 49 before reconnecting it to the relay coil.

    The starting sequence utilizes the nichrome resistor elements that are located at the very front of the tractor (by the charger timer) to limit the voltage applied to the armature. The first 4 speeds are all at full field voltage. First speed uses all three resistors, second speed uses two resistors, third speed uses one resistor, and speed 4 bypasses all three resistors (36 volts to armature and field). The starts should be pretty gentle, if they are not then I would suspect that there is a short up front in the resistor bank, or a fault with one or more of the bypassing contactors. With everything off, and in a quiet environment, slowly press the accelerator pedal. You should hear eight distinct clicks. Each click would represent a speed. Once you get a feel for that, turn the tractor back on and listen for a speed changes corresponding to each click you heard with the tractor off.

    A properly operating charger should "hum". A charger with a fault will BUZZ. The capacitors go bad over time, and diodes also fail. The HSM has a good section on how to troubleshoot the charger.

    Nick
     
     

  6. Re: 2 of 4 I-5 relays activating, traction motor not starting. 
    #6
    Senior Member FarmallMan's Avatar
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    Incidentally, I don't believe those red insulated terminals are original. Not a bad thing, just an observation. Where does that red wire go? It looks like a previous repair.

    Nick
     
     

  7. Re: 2 of 4 I-5 relays activating, traction motor not starting. 
    #7
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    Nick,

    Thanks again for the pointers, I've been focusing on mechanicals like getting the brakes working & adjusted, & filling up the transmission with oil. Now back onto the electrical.

    Regarding the reverse light bulb, it looks to be bad (I've yet to find a spec on that bulb, 12v?). That said, the voltmeter on the leads to the bulb only show 1 volt, but the value jumps up briefly if the accelerator pedal is pushed. I've attached another image of where that red wire goes, to a relay on the left hand side. This red wire is spliced to a black wire as an extension & comes across to the relay, & has another black wire spiced onto it where the yellow tape is next to the relay. I've haven't yet traced where each black wire traces back to.

    Taking your advice on listening to clicks at the pedal, there are maybe 5 or 6 that can be heard. Incidentally, I have ONLY 4 active speeds (fwd & rev), & the cruise control DOES work on speed 4. The drive motor stops completely when the pedal is pushed farther than speed 4. The troubleshooting table say "Check on replace FW switches in speed throttle". There is a flaky connection going into the the accelerator pedal switch assembly, that I found early when the I-5 would not move at all. I need to properly investigate/address this, at the moment the harness is biased slightly with a zip tie that made the contact to get it running.

    Jeff
     
     

  8. Re: 2 of 4 I-5 relays activating, traction motor not starting. 
    #8
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    Hi Nick,

    This is an update from the previous post, (which I couldn't edit). Fiddling a 3rd time with the volt meter, it now picks up 37 volts on the leads for the Rev Indicator light. I've attached another video (assuming I'm inserting the video correctly?), in case of use, showing the action of the FR & FW relays running in both forward & reverse.

    Jeff

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHxv3AdXr0I
     
     

  9. Re: 2 of 4 I-5 relays activating, traction motor not starting. 
    #9
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    Here is a video showing showing the 4 speeds available by the accelerator pedal, which I apparently did not successfully get attached last night. The runs nice otherwise


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3QvF9izC94
     
     

  10. Re: 2 of 4 I-5 relays activating, traction motor not starting. 
    #10
    Senior Member FarmallMan's Avatar
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    Hi Jeff,

    The behavior of the FR and FW relays is correct. I misread the schematic originally.

    The reverse light is a little bit of an odd one. It takes 36 volts from the circuitry, but the highest voltage rating I've been able to find in new replacements is 28 volts. The schematic shows a 270 ohm resistor in series with the lamp, which I think may have been used to drop the voltage across the lamp to 28V. I think the resistor is actually internal to the light, but I'm not 100% sure. The parts suppliers (Jim at www.electrictractorstore.com and Harold Zimmerman of Clean Power Supply) more than likely have replacements. If you're handy with electronics, you can cut the end off the original and replace the burnt out incandescent lamp with a red LED and appropriately sized current limiting resistor.

    The first 4 speeds are working correctly. None of the field weakening speeds are present (5-8) and the motor should not stop when the pedal is bottomed out. I'm beginning to think it might be time to pull apart the pedal/switch mechanism and check for functionality there. Especially since you said there are only 5 or 6 audible clicks. The switch assembly consists of 8 microswitches and a plate that slides over their actuating plungers. If something is out of whack with the sliding plate, that could screw things up.

    Look on page 6-26 of the HSM, it has a diagram of the pedal switch assembly. You can test the operation of the switches by pressing the plungers in by hand. To test each speed, you need to hold in all of the preceding plungers. In elaboration:
    Speed 1 - Press START switch
    Speed 2 - Hold START, Press 1A.
    Speed 3 - Hold START and 1A, Press 2A.
    Speed 4 - Hold START, 1A, and 2A, Press 3A.
    Speed 5 - Hold START, 1A, 2A, and 3A, Press FW-1
    etc....

    You'll need to use both hands, and put something heavy on the seat to hold down the safety switch. If you can produce all speeds successfully by manually actuating the switches, something is funky with way the sliding plate is installed. If you still cant reproduce speeds 5-8 by manually testing, then the problem is elsewhere. Also, check out the condition of the resistor card located on the right side of the tractor next to the control card. These are the field weakening resistors, and problems here could affect speeds 5-8. It would also be a good thing to check at the correct wire numbers are in the appropriate positions on the resistor card. See page 6-25 for the locations.

    Let me know how you make out with the testing.

    Nick
     
     

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