6 Volt Motorcycle Electric Troubleshooting

Written by tom lutzenberger
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6 Volt Motorcycle Electric Troubleshooting
Many vintage motorcycles used 6-volt point ignition systems for lighting. (vintage motorcycle image by sasha from Fotolia.com)

If you have ever owned or borrowed a vintage motorcycle or scooter or become familiar with its design, then you know that these vehicles are notorious for not-so-reliable lighting systems. Troubleshooting such a system relies on checking and, if needed, repairing the ignition system, as well as any normal wiring problems.

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Point Ignition

Point ignition systems, which were common on 6-volt motorcycles and scooters, require mechanical positioning to work properly. When the points wear down or are positioned incorrectly in the stator plate, the engine timing and electrical system suffer. The problem is noticeable, as the engine performs poorly at the same time that the lighting fails.

Normal Wear and Tear

Due to age, many 6-volt systems are vulnerable to wiring problems. The wiring insulation gets brittle or pinched, exposing the inner wire to a metal frame part. The result then causes the wiring system to short. The typical sign of this is a blown bulb.

Burnt-Out Regulator

When the regulator fails on a 6-volt system, the motorcycle or scooter can keep going for a while, but eventually the ignition system will burn out as well. Fried components in the stator plate assembly, under the flywheel, signal a major problem with current regulation.

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