Need crash course on checking safety switches.

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  #1  
Old 04-20-14, 03:11 PM
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Question Need crash course on checking safety switches.

Hi
My Craftsman tractor won't start again this year. The battery is new and fully charged. Last year I had a problem with one of the safety switches. I changed them all late last summer so there shouldn't be a problem.

Can someone give me a crash course on using my multimeter to check them. I tried to find my old post but the only one I could find was the one where I couldn't get one of the old switches out.
I did have a problem with the switch right under the arm for the blade engagement last fall. I remember I had to hold it all the way down to make it start. I tried that. It's not even trying to turn over, so I suspect the problem is there. If it were the solenoid I would hear a clicking noise wouldn't I?

George
 
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Old 04-20-14, 03:33 PM
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Take a look at the seat switch (operator present). Hold it in tight to see if maybe it isn't splitting the contacts.
 
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Old 04-20-14, 04:14 PM
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I pulled the seat switch out and put it back together, it seems plenty tight. Still won't even turn over.
There are 2 safety switches on the chassis and one right behind the blade engaging lever. When I have a few less kids running around on a sugar high I'm going to pull them out and check them. I had a really hard time getting the one behind the lever back in last year. I may have damaged it with the screwdriver trying to get it back in. I don't think it is sitting up high enough that the arm is fully compressing the switch all the way down. They were a bear to get out and a bigger bear to get back in. You are supposed to just be able to squeeze the 2 side clips and shove it right on in and out. I still have the old switches, 2 were still good. Given there are 3 that leaves me playing find the right one. I hate guessing.GI2
George
 
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Old 04-20-14, 04:25 PM
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If you have a continuity tester, go down on the solenoid and check it there for current when the switch is turned. Maybe you have something beyond the safety harness.
 
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Old 04-20-14, 09:41 PM
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Start simple, get a test light, and see if you have power at the switch. If not, then check the fuse. If so, trace it from there to the solenoid and post results.
 
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Old 04-21-14, 03:15 PM
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When I said a crash course I meant on how to use that dumb multimeter. I'm not sure how to check the solenoid. I put a new one in but that don't mean squat, last year I got a bum one. I thought cause it was new I was safe
I checked the key switch. I don't have continuity between the B + L, with the key in the lights on position. Does that mean the whole switch is bad? I never use those stupid lights anyway.
So far I've changed the safety switch under the blade engage. The other one was ok but it was a bit beat up. I've checked the fuse, it's good and I have power to it. The battery has a full charge. I put in a new plug and even reset the valves. The exhaust was a tad off, just needed a tweak. The stupid thing won't even turn over. I have 1 more switch to change, but I have to pull the deck to do it. It's been a long day and I'm beat. I'll tackle that other switch when I can tomorrow.
What am I missing?????
George
 
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Old 04-21-14, 03:29 PM
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I suggest just using a 12 volt test light. Much easier, no need to learn to use anything new. It depends on what kind of meter as to how to use it. Analog, digital, autoranging, etc...

if you want to learn the meter, post the make and model.
 
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Old 04-21-14, 03:38 PM
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Thanks Cheese
For the sake of expediency how do I check a solenoid with a test light> I have one of those too, just never tested a solenoid with one.

My multimeter is a CEN-TECH model 95683. It's a digital clamp type. I picked it up at Harbor Freight last year. It's one of those things you don't want to spend big bucks on if you are only going to use it once a year. I save my big bucks for power tools
 
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Old 04-22-14, 12:02 AM
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On the solenoid, there should be two small wires plugged on to the bottom of it. One is white. Connect the clamp of the test light to a good grounded part of the frame or the negative battery post. Touch the other end to the positive to be sure it lights. If so, Check the white wire on the solenoid while trying to start the engine (brake pressed, etc...). If it lights up, the solenoid is bad. If not, find the wire that lights up when starting on the back of the keyswitch or if one does at all and post results.
 
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Old 04-22-14, 07:44 AM
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I tried checking that white wire. Problem the wire has a plastic part over the clip, there isn't anyplace to get a hold of it. I did try testing it with the meter. I get 12v to the stud on the (right) front of the solenoid. I also got the light to light. I get nothing when I shove the probe ( from the meter) into the white clip and turn the key

I tried checking the key switch. Like I said earlier, I have continuity on every thing except the B to L. That's the one for the head lights. Like I need lights on my lawn tractor. Using the test light nothing made the light come on.
I should have driven this thing off a cliff last year.
 
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Old 04-22-14, 10:04 AM
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Ok I've gone from coffee to a beer.
I checked all of the switches again and have continuity on all, yet I still get nothing at the white wire. The only switch that might be a problem would be the ignition switch. I have continuity on everything except the lights. Does that make the whole switch bad? It's not just the 20 bucks it cost for the switch, it's the 1 hour trip there and back to get it. I don't want to buy any more switches I don't need. I checked the ground off the solenoid and it's good. The solenoid is a 4 pole and has it's own ground, which is also well grounded. I also looked for anyplace I might have a bare wire, none. It's all inside a protective plastic sleeve.
 
  #12  
Old 04-22-14, 12:57 PM
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UPDATE:
I read a post in this forum where the guy had run a nail file down the female connector on the key switch. I tried it and it worked. It ran for about 1/2 a minute then quit. At least I've narrowed down where the problem is. Guess I will be making that trip for a new switch. Had I even guessed that was the problem I would have bought one when I bought the other switches.
I'll let you know tomorrow if it solved the problem. I just hope they have one in stock, will check before I make the trip.
 
  #13  
Old 04-23-14, 08:05 AM
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Ok I've gone from coffee to a beer.

That always works for me!
 
  #14  
Old 04-23-14, 11:22 AM
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The problem was with the fuse between the solenoid and key switch I checked the stupid thing, the meter says it's a good fuse. It even beeped when in place. I put a new one in and viola it started. I have no clue what the difference was.
Lesson learned.. ALWAYS put a new fuse in first!! That $50 I blew on new switches would have kept me in beer half the summer

Thanks Cheese for the gallant effort!
 

Last edited by Home wrecker; 04-23-14 at 12:28 PM.
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