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Grasshopper Mower Electrical Nightmare


coffeepot's Avatar
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08-08-10, 04:23 AM   #1  
Grasshopper Mower Electrical Nightmare

This is a long post, but I needed to explain the situation.

I need some help troubleshooting a 1996 Grasshopper 616 Mower 12 volt electrical problem. I have a control panel that holds all of the wiring and necessary switches, such as ignition, lights, PTO, a small circuit board and 4 fuses. The problem is I have juice to the control panel but when I turn the ignition switch to start I have nothing. I've checked the fuses first, one fuse for each of these circuits: Regulator 30amp; Start 7.5 amp; PTO 7.5 amp and Lights 7.5 amp, all were ok except the Regulator 30 amp had one side of the fuse melted, this fuse was not broken. Since this mower is pretty old and all of the electrical control components were original I've replaced several of the easiest & obvious components first: Ignition Switch; Fuse Box & fuses; Regulator; Light Switch; PTO Switch and Battery & Battery cables. I've ran checks on continuity of most of the visible wiring and have found none defective. I'm stumped.

At one point after everything was changed, the mower started as it should, I even mowed a little with it, but the engine was cutting out, not continuously though. Since I still had the control panel disconnected so I could check if everything worked as it's supposed to before I mounted it as it should be I could find no evident problems. After I shut the unit off, then tried to restart it I have nothing, no solenoid click absolutely zip. The only thing I haven't replaced is the circuit board which has 21 wires attached, but I'm not really convinced that will solve my problem.

Any suggested ideals for a check, or fix, anyone has would be welcome, my much appreciated Thanks in advance.

 
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08-08-10, 04:23 PM   #2  
First coffeepot I want to say, I'm not familiar with Grasshoppers as they are not common to my area.

Just some general guide lines to testing electrical systems taking it from where your at right now;


Most wire harnesses are powered from the positive battery cable at the starter solenoid, Make sure this connection is clean and tight.

Use a automotive test light or multimeter......

Test for power on the "B" (battery) post on the ignition switch, While there test for power on the "S" (starter) post with the key in the start position.

If you have power to both post move to the blue wire on the starter solenoid, Test for power there with the key in the start position.

If you have no power to the solenoid trace the blue wire back to the switch for a issue.

If you have power to the solenoid the problem is likely a ground fault in the system, Most safety switch systems operate in the ground circuit with-in a wire harness instead of the positive side of the harness.

I see three frame ground points in this harness, Locate each one and remove it from the frame clean and re-install.

Disconnect the POSITIVE battery cable for this testing;

Start with the yellow wire on the starter solenoid, Put a test lead of a multimeter set on ohm's scale on this wire (this is the end of the ground circuit). Locate the nearest safety switch to the solenoid and un-plug it, Touch the other test lead to the wires in this plug. If there's no break in the wire the meter will show a closed circuit.

Now, Test the safety switch. Put the meter leads across the switch and activate the switch watching for a closed circuit.

As the safety switches and wires test closed circuit you can leave the one multimeter test lead on the yellow solenoid wire as long as the tested switch is activated. Work your way through the system/harness until a issue with a switch or wire is found.

If there are no issues found with a safety switch or wire I would look closer at that fancy pants circuit board as the culprit.

Don't know if you have a 616 diagram but this is what I used for reference;




Again,

I'm not familiar with the Grasshopper line so I reserve the right to be wrong......

Now I think I'm ready for a


Good Luck

 
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08-08-10, 05:08 PM   #3  
Posted By: 31YTech First coffeepot I want to say, I'm not familiar with Grasshoppers as they are not common to my area.

Just some general guide lines to testing electrical systems taking it from where your at right now;


Most wire harnesses are powered from the positive battery cable at the starter solenoid, Make sure this connection is clean and tight.

Use a automotive test light or multimeter......

Test for power on the "B" (battery) post on the ignition switch, While there test for power on the "S" (starter) post with the key in the start position.

If you have power to both post move to the blue wire on the starter solenoid, Test for power there with the key in the start position.

If you have no power to the solenoid trace the blue wire back to the switch for a issue.

If you have power to the solenoid the problem is likely a ground fault in the system, Most safety switch systems operate in the ground circuit with-in a wire harness instead of the positive side of the harness.

I see three frame ground points in this harness, Locate each one and remove it from the frame clean and re-install.

Disconnect the POSITIVE battery cable for this testing;

Start with the yellow wire on the starter solenoid, Put a test lead of a multimeter set on ohm's scale on this wire (this is the end of the ground circuit). Locate the nearest safety switch to the solenoid and un-plug it, Touch the other test lead to the wires in this plug. If there's no break in the wire the meter will show a closed circuit.

Now, Test the safety switch. Put the meter leads across the switch and activate the switch watching for a closed circuit.

As the safety switches and wires test closed circuit you can leave the one multimeter test lead on the yellow solenoid wire as long as the tested switch is activated. Work your way through the system/harness until a issue with a switch or wire is found.

If there are no issues found with a safety switch or wire I would look closer at that fancy pants circuit board as the culprit.

Don't know if you have a 616 diagram but this is what I used for reference;




Again,

I'm not familiar with the Grasshopper line so I reserve the right to be wrong......

Now I think I'm ready for a


Good Luck
Holy cow, thank you so very much for the information sent, the wire schematic you show is the exact copy of mine. I am to the point of checking the control handle safety switches but am having a really hard time finding them. I've taken the wires out of the loom so I can maybe trace where the wires for the safety switches in question are located, so far I've counted 14 wires in the main loom but only 8 are exiting, go figure. I'll follow your instructions to a "T" hopefully I can locate the problem. I've checked the solenoid wires out for continuity but not with the key in the start position, that suggestion alone may point to my problem.

I only work on this mower in the cool of the mornings (about 5-6 hrs.) because of the excessive heat we are having in the state of Kansas, triple digets are common during the afternoon hours with heat indexes up to 105 degrees. BTW, I am retired. Thanks again for the reply to my post it is greatly appreciated, I'll get back with you one way or the other, fixed or no fix.

 
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08-08-10, 08:36 PM   #4  
I worked on one of these last year with intermittent electrical problems similar to what you're having. There were bad connections at several places. I recall the spade terminals at the handlebar switches were corroded and not making good connection. I also remember a fuse melted and it seems like I had to repair the connector for that fuse to get continuity there. I also had to replace a diode on the circuit board... it was blown. This was after I sorted out all the electrical tape and twisted random incorrect wiring that someone else had done trying to fix the problems. Headache.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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08-11-10, 06:44 AM   #5  
BINGO! Electrical problem is solved!

My many Thanks go to "31YTech" for supplying me with step-by-step instructions for testing electrical systems, especially helpful were the ground circuit testing procedures, after checking the "power" circuit. I found the yellow wire that connects the L/R control lever safety switches was not showing continuity, changed the terminals on each end, then got continuity, I then replaced all of the terminals just for a safety measure. Then I attached positive battery cable, turned the ignition switch to start and the machine started.

My Thanks, also, go to "cheese" for sharing his experience concerning a like situation with me, this gave me much needed confidence to complete my machine.

It's always nice to find experienced people on this forum, whereas most of the answers given to most questions are expertly answered in laymen's terms. Thanks again.

 
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08-11-10, 09:18 AM   #6  
Thanks for the update coffeepot, Was happy to lend a hand.....

 
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