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Outboard Starter Meter

09/24/2015 11:00 PM
  • need to check current draw on outboard starter (about 30 amps), what kind of meter on ebay should I buy?
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#1

Re: -ammeter?

09/24/2015 11:13 PM

A "clamp on" meter would probably be a good idea. A peak hold or min/max capability will allow you to measure the surge current. You will probably be surprised with the magnitude of the actual surge current.

Some outdoor starters don't require any current. I wonder what type you have?

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#2

Re: -ammeter?

09/25/2015 12:05 AM

This is all you need.

6 Function Mini Digital Multimeter

Item #96308 Only: $19.99Sale: $11.99

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#4
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Re: -ammeter?

09/25/2015 1:53 AM

Damn, me too.

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: -ammeter?

09/25/2015 5:09 AM

That is not a DC current clamp meter, only AC current. DC clamp meters employ a Hall sensor and are usally at much higher price levels. S.M.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: -ammeter?

09/25/2015 5:39 AM

You beat me to it. I used to have a dc current induction meter that was fairly accurate and fairly higher price too.

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: -ammeter?

09/25/2015 7:24 AM

Drat!

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#10
In reply to #5

Re: -ammeter?

09/25/2015 11:17 AM

That's right, I have one that does both, switchable between the two. I got it when I used to repair and sell alternators as a hobby. That was back in the days when it took a few minutes to remove an alternator, instead of the half day on most modern cars. It works OK.

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#11
In reply to #5

Re: -ammeter?

09/25/2015 11:32 AM

Strictly speaking, the starting cycle current is not really a DC signal. The current will change with time, it is not constant. The frequency still might be so low that a hall probe based meter will be required for accuracy. This leads to the next pertinent question for the OP.

How much accuracy is needed for the job?

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#3

Re: -ammeter?

09/25/2015 12:08 AM

There are many types of tong tester available from the market. There are DC and AC type tong tester but some tong tester have combination of measuring for AC and DC current. The only things need to observed is the maximum measuring current range of your measurement. If you buy a tong tester with lower range you may not able to measure the higher current range likewise if you get a high range of the tong tester you may not able to measure at lower range current.

You need to decide your choice of measurement.

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#7

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 6:40 AM

<...need to check current draw on outboard starter...> Why?

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#12
In reply to #7

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 1:13 PM

Because the Bendix gear does not work (gear does not move up to engage flywheel). Had the starter apart, cleaned brushes and commutator, checked all connections, checked voltage drop across cables and across solenoid with digital voltmeter, checked battery voltage under load, cleaned and polished shaft and pinion gear.....and only remaining idea is, if starter is not drawing rated current it will not have enough torque to ride up pinion gear. I'm open to suggestions.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 2:12 PM

Does the Bendix work properly? i.e. move along the spiral when turned by hand (on the bench). I've known them to need oiling and cleaning occasionally.

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#17
In reply to #13

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 9:19 PM

Yes, the Bendix moves up if I hold it and I turn the rotor in the direction it would normally run. But when power is applied, the Bendix moves up a bit (about 1/4 inch) and drops back down. So, almost.

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#28
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Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/27/2015 4:17 AM

Never mind the Bendix, does it turn at the expected speed? i.e. very fast on no load if you keep the power on.

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#30
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Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/27/2015 2:23 PM

RPM should be 6500-7500 per manual, don't have instrument to check that, unfortunately. HOWEVER, found the current draw is about 15 amps, only half of nominal 30, so something is wrong with rotor or brushes or commutator. Disassembled whole thing and will examine it after Vikings game today.

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 4:43 PM

If the starter is going in the wrong direction, the Bendix drive will not extend.

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 9:11 PM

You're right, and I checked for that, repeatedly. The Bendix DOES move up a bit, about 1/4 inch, but drops down again. So it starts, but does not finish the job. There has to be a reason, right?

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#24
In reply to #16

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/26/2015 5:24 AM

Unless I'm mistaken, starter motors are series wound so reversing supply polarity does not reverse rotation.

How is the power applied, manually or via a solenoid (installed and on bench test)? When power applied, it should snap forward rapidly to engage the Bendix. If it doesn't it sounds like low battery or bad connection/dirty contacts somewhere.

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#34
In reply to #24

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/28/2015 12:29 PM

I stand corrected:

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#35
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Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/28/2015 1:14 PM

Thanks, that's what I thought

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#26
In reply to #16

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/26/2015 12:16 PM

Yes, and an ammeter won't solve the problems. Save your money, strip the Bendix,, and investigate further. That's what I'd do, then I'm funny that way.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/26/2015 12:46 PM

Agreed, but thought it would be diagnostic, i.e. if starter does not draw its rated current, that would explain why it does not start with enough torque to move Bendix into engagement with flywheel ring gear. Just took solenoid apart, it looked pretty good, so no obvious cause there. So, looks like the disassembling the starter motor (again!) is the only move left. Nuts (as General McAuliffe said).

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#29
In reply to #27

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/27/2015 12:37 PM

OK I understand my posts sometimes are not that easy to... decipher but let me rephrase it this way. Bendix not coming all the way out IS THE PROBLEM, because the main electric contacts WHICH ARE INSIDE the solenoid engage and give full power to the rotor only when the bendix is ALMOST FULLY OUT. Investigate why it is (mechanicaly ?) restricted and is not coming out. (Rust, assembly errors etc) S.M.

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#31
In reply to #29

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/27/2015 2:38 PM

There is no mechanical linkage between solenoid and rotor, so I don't understand why this would be true. Took the solenoid apart yesterday (drilled out the rivets), looked pretty good but polished contact area anyway on general principles, reassembled with pop rivets. Did not seem to make any difference.

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#32
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Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/27/2015 5:30 PM

I think that only applies to a pre-engaged starter, which does not have a Bendix. Bendix type has just one cable, the heavy one which operates the starter when remotely energised via a solenoid or manual pushbutton. The solenoid is sometimes mounted on the starter, but the principle is the same.

The pre-engaged type has a solenoid-operated mechanism which pulls the pinion into mesh with the flywheel ring gear and only then applies the power to the rotor (as you say). It's more expensive but less brutal than Bendix, most cars have it nowadays, and pretty much essential on diesels as these can need helping round with the starter after firing has started, and the Bendix could be flicked out of engagement.

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#23
In reply to #12

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/26/2015 2:55 AM

Did this starter work before you cleaned all up nice and pretty?

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#25
In reply to #23

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/26/2015 11:33 AM

No, it rotated but the Bendix never moved up into engagement. Interior of starter was pretty grungy, and commutator had corrosion. It DID work last year (2014) but not this spring. The reasoning behind wanting to check current drain is that if it draws significantly less than the nominal 30 amps, that pinpoints the rotor and/or commutator as the problem.

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#15
In reply to #7

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 7:58 PM

<...need to check current draw on outboard starter...> Why?

Indeed... WHY?

Assuming by "outboard" (not "outdoor" by the way), you mean a starter motor for an outboard boat engine, I cannot for the life of me think of why a DC current meter would be useful. You might get more meaningful help if you divulge what your reasoning is behind thinking you need it.

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#18
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Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 10:08 PM

OK, a 25 HP Evinrude 1990 outboard. Electric starter, with Bendix style starter motor. Starter was disassembled, some corrosion cleaned out, carbon brushes cleaned, commutator cleaned and polished, as was rotor shaft and pinion gear. After reassembly, rotor turns fine, but pinion only rides up on shaft about 1/4/". Checked voltage drops on all cables and solenoid, all OK. Nominal current draw of motor is 30 amps, want to check that. If draws much less, that would indicate faulty rotor, maybe shorted windings, or commutator problems? Out of ideas, otherwise.

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 10:40 PM

On most starters (not some newer ones engaged by a ratchet bearing that is), full power to the rotor is controlled by massive contacts inside the solenoid, and they make contact only when pinion is engaged ie moved almost all its way out. If that movement is somehow restricted, main contacts are at off state and on most starters only some minimal power (through series resistance) reaches the rotor with only enough torque to help pinion axial movement and make engagement easier, not enough to turn the engine. So re-check the solenoid leverage and contacts for damage, rust or re-assembly erors. S.M.

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#36
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Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/28/2015 1:38 PM

That type of drive depends on acceleration of the shaft to drive forward and engage the ring gear. Once engaged, the engine rotation upon starting and the shutting down of the starter motor, allows the drive to retract.

The spaces in between the commutator bars must be undercut, otherwise the insulation will prevent proper contact with the brushes. Commutators should be dressed with commutator stones to achieve the correct surface.

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#37
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Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/28/2015 1:41 PM

That sounds promising. I'll check the spaces under a microscope; what is a commutator stone?

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#38
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Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/28/2015 1:59 PM

You don't need a microscope, a magnifying glass would do it, but if you use a scribe or any sharp blade the width of the slot, without damaging the bars, this would be sufficient to bring the insulation below the surface of the bars.

A commutator stone is like a knife sharpening stone, attached to a handle to allow application to the commutator while it is turning.

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#39
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Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/28/2015 2:33 PM

Commutator stone. I have used very fine open garnet sand paper to clean the commutator and re-seat the brushes. But do not use any metal oxide sand papers,, as they can cause shorting between commutator segments. You might also check the wear of the brushes, most brushes have either a line or notch about half way down or middle of the brush to indicate when to change the brushes. If the curve of the brush is within an 1/8" of the indicator line you should change both brushes.

As far as the commutator undercut, you don't need a microscope, if you see shinny copper wire and solder between the segments, it's to late and the starter should be replaced. Otherwise clean the brushes and commutator with a good electrical contact cleaner.

Good luck with it

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#9

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 9:40 AM
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#20
In reply to #9

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 10:47 PM

Mastech.Good Brand!

I have one of their 5 1/2 digit multimeters and I have put it up against multiple flukes (It takes about $1000 in multiple flukes to do all the same functions ) And so far in every head to head test it has always equalled the flukes in every in accuracy and all for under $65.

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#21

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/25/2015 11:32 PM

Hoyt Electrical Meter Works, http://www.hoytmeter.com/

Model SG-1 Dual Starter Generator Current Indicator

http://hoytmeter.com/images/catalog/product/induction-ammeters5.pdf

Hold the meter up against the wire to be tested with the RED sensor channel on the back for the 600-0-600 amp scale. Same with the silver sensor channel for the 75-0-75 amp scale.

It is small, 2-1/2" diameter, so it fits into small places, easy to read, space for a clamp all around the wire is not needed and you don't have to disconnect the wire and put a amp meter in series with the wire.

Have had mine for 40+ year. Still works fine and doesn't require the batteries that run out every time you go to use it. Excellent tool, excellent price.

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/26/2015 2:52 AM

Looks kinda like my old one I used to have and pretty reliable too

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#33

Re: Outboard Starter Meter

09/27/2015 11:08 PM

I had known better, it sounds like you messed up the brushes and commentator contact surface when you cleaned everything.

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