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Welder not charging battery

Cant find alternator

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Most engine driven welders have the charge armature located underneath the flywheel of the engine, but you need to check a couple of other things before you start tearing down the engine. Look for a small rectangular module on the blower housing of the engine, on a Kohler this is at the side, on an Onan it's at the top. This is the rectifier/charger module and it will have 3 wires, the 2 on the outside will be the AC from the armature, and the middle one is the battery charge positive. With the engine not running, use a DC voltmeter to measure the voltage between this middle tab and the engine block, you should see a voltage that's very nearly equal to the battery voltage. If you don't see a voltage there you may have either a blown fuse, a tripped circuit breaker, or a broken wire leading to the battery. On some welders the fuse or circut breaker is inside the welder cabinet on the bulkhead between the engine and the generator parts of the welder.
If you did see battery voltage at the charge terminal, start the engine, switch the voltmeter to measure AC voltage and measaure the voltage from one of the outside terminals to the other, you should see 15 volts or more (be careful not to short out anything). If you get a nice AC voltage, switch back to DC and measure the charge output again (engine block to middle tab), it should be greater than the battery voltage we measured before and it should be slowly getting greater, if not the rectifier/charger module is bad.
If you didn't see enough AC going into the module, stop the engine, disconnect the plug from the module and use an ohm meter to measure the resistance between the 2 outside wires that go back to the engine, something between 100 and 1500 ohms is good. If you measure an open circiut (OL on my meter) or if you measure 0 ohms, the armature is probably bad. You have to take the flywheel off the engine to see the armature. If you got a good restance reading but the voltage is still low you may have one or more broken magnets inside the flywheel, again you have to do some serious disassembly to see if that's the case.

Posted on Nov 29, 2008

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There is no Alternator. The welder is a big generator. The welder uses the battery for stored energy to start the engine which in turn spends the generator. By use of a voltage regulator the 115 volt plugs on the welder work and the battery is recharged. If you find that the welder will not start and the toggle switch wiil not work properly, its probably the voltage regulator. Check the battery first, then move on to the regulator. Chasing parts start with Kohler or with the engine type you may have. Get the model number and serial number off of the fly wheel cover. Good Luck

Posted on Feb 16, 2013

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The 3 slip ring models are similar but have 2 rotor windings - take off the wire from the middle brush and measure from it to each of the ends.

If your rotor and brushes checked out OK you should next check the fuse in the exciter circuit, this will be on the block where the other end of the brush wires go.

If the fuse was good you need to do an excitation test. This is a bit dangerous so be careful. Look at the schematic pasted inside the case and figure out which brush is the positive (+) one. The wires are numbered and so is the schematic so this isn't as hard as it might seem.
Disconnect the wires from both brushes (all 4 wires in the 3 slip ring model) and tape them off so you won't get shocked. Get a 9V battery or make up jumpers that will let you connect the welder battery to the brushes. Start the welder and connect your temporary power supply, measure the AC at the outlets (it should be around 60VAC with a 9V battery) and the DC voltage at the weld terminals (should be above 10V), lastly measure the voltage at the wires you disconnected from the brushes (should be around 70V DC). Disconnect the temporary power supply and shut down the welder.
If you didn't get AC at the outlets and DC at the weld terminals above, something is wrong with the stator in your welder. If you didn't measure any DC on the wires that go to the brushes (most likely thing to happen), you've got something wrong in the exciter circuit. Check the rectifier, the capacitor, the exciter winding in the stator, and lastly the current control board. Older welders will also have the fine current control rheostat in this circuit (look for burned windings on it).

That's about all of the general advice I can give you without knowing more about which welder you have.

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