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Old 05-29-2010, 06:06 PM   post #1 of 13
pintopkp
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Default Testing Points/Condenser

Hello again all! So I picked up the leaf blower I mentioned with the Kohler K161. What a great little engine! Anyways, it has no spark and I notice that the points/condesner set up is NOT cheap for these (I have cleaned/filed/reset the points, but to no avail). I've heard tell that one can test the points and condenser with a multimeter. Basically, my question is how do I do that? What do I set the meter to, where do I touch the leads to, etc. My engine has the condenser bracketed to the side of the crankcase and the points in a little box under the kill switch. Here's a picture of the setup with the points cover off:



Sorry for the crappy quality; had my son in one arm while trying to take a picture with my iPhone with the other.

Anyway, any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:18 PM   post #2 of 13
jdcrawler
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

You can check them with just a cheep test light.
Disconnect the wire going to the points from the coil.
Hook the test light up to the positive (+) side of the battery.
Hold the test light to the terminal for the points.
Spin the engine over and the test light will blink on and off as the points close and open.

If it does that, then the points are working correctly.
Make sure the point gap is correct as that will effect the function of the coil.
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1948 Bolens Ridemaster - 35AA01 Ser#230
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:28 PM   post #3 of 13
pintopkp
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcrawler View Post
You can check them with just a cheep test light.
Disconnect the wire going to the points from the coil.
Hook the test light up to the positive (+) side of the battery.
Hold the test light to the terminal for the points.
Spin the engine over and the test light will blink on and off as the points close and open.

If it does that, then the points are working correctly.
Make sure the point gap is correct as that will effect the function of the coil.
I actually don't have a battery (it's a plain, ol' magneto/coil ignition with a pull start). Can I still use the test light only just in a different way somehow?
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:40 PM   post #4 of 13
jdcrawler
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

Sure, all you need is a power source.
Do you have a battery you can use?

Hook the negative (-) from the battery to the engine.
Then continue with the test light as described.

Or do you have a continuity tester? That is like a test light with its own battery built in.
Hook the clamp on the wire to the engine block and the point on the tester to the points terminal.
The light will go on and off if the points are making contact.
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1945 John Deere Lindeman ( modified )
1949 Agricat crawler
1947 FMC Bean Cutler ( flat belt drive )
1948 Bolens Ridemaster - 35AA01 Ser#230
1948 Bolens Ridemaster - 35AA01 Ser#457
1948 Bolens Ridemaster - 35AB01
1953 Bolens Ridemaster 35AB03 ( modified cart )
1937 Shaw Du-All tractor conversion
"R/T" home made tractor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1aD1wn7yNE

Last edited by jdcrawler; 05-29-2010 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 05-29-2010, 08:10 PM   post #5 of 13
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

The test light will tell you if the points are making and breaking contact. It will not tell you if the condenser is good or not. A capacitance checking device of one kind or another is required to find if the capacitor is open, shorted or has lost capacitance. It's usually much less expensive to simply replace the capacitor than to have a dedicated meter for this purpose. All that being said if you have a meter that is internally powered and capable of testing ohms resistance it can be used to give an idea of the capacitors condition. Set the meter to a mid scale setting and, with the capacitor resting on a wood or other insulating surface, touch the wire to the capacitor with one meter lead and the body with the other. Hold the contact for a couple of seconds then revers them. The meter should rise sharply and then return to zero. This indicates an ability of the capacitor to accept a charge, hold it, and then reverse polarity when the leads are switched.

Not a sure check but an indicator the capacitor is functioning at least to some extent.

I have been having good luck using an off the shelf capacitor from Car Quest auto parts that is a direct replacement for Kohler part #230722. Car Quest #7-01338. My cost is around $4.00 as I recall. Been using this same one for some time on various small engines. When in doubt I just put a new one on the engine.

Mike

Edit:

I just re-read the original post. To test the points with a multi-meter simply unhook the wires to the points and put one lead on the post where the coil and condenser hooked up and the other to the block. With the meter set on "Ohms" at a low setting turn the engine over. When the points open there should be maximum, infinity, resistance. With the points closed you should read zero resistance.

Somehow I construed you were working with only a test light.

Mike

Last edited by Tencubed; 05-29-2010 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:52 PM   post #6 of 13
jdcrawler
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tencubed View Post
Somehow I construed you were working with only a test light.
Mike
That was my fault, Mike.
I thru the test light in because the "checking points" question is one I often hear at tractor shows and most people don't own a ohm meter.

You are right though, the test light can't check the condenser.
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1945 John Deere Lindeman ( modified )
1949 Agricat crawler
1947 FMC Bean Cutler ( flat belt drive )
1948 Bolens Ridemaster - 35AA01 Ser#230
1948 Bolens Ridemaster - 35AA01 Ser#457
1948 Bolens Ridemaster - 35AB01
1953 Bolens Ridemaster 35AB03 ( modified cart )
1937 Shaw Du-All tractor conversion
"R/T" home made tractor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1aD1wn7yNE
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Old 05-29-2010, 10:17 PM   post #7 of 13
pintopkp
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

Thanks guys; very good info! I'll give it a whirl and see what I come up with and let you know how it turned out.
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Old 05-29-2010, 10:54 PM   post #8 of 13
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcrawler View Post
That was my fault, Mike.
I thru the test light in because the "checking points" question is one I often hear at tractor shows and most people don't own a ohm meter.

You are right though, the test light can't check the condenser.
Nope, not your fault. My limited comprehension and reading skills just mixed up who said what.

Mike
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Old 05-30-2010, 07:11 AM   post #9 of 13
willowbilly3
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

Just FWIW, an ohm meter may never read zero resistance. At best maybe 0.3 ohm. Anything under 1 ohm is usually a good connection.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:46 AM   post #10 of 13
pintopkp
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

Ok, so I set my multimeter to 200 ohms (the lowest it will go) and placed one tester lead on the points terminal and the other on the block; the meter shows a "1". When I pull her over, the reading on the meter shows all sorts of numbers very quickly and then goes back to 1. So, I'm guessing this means that my points are making contact/are ok? I havn't tested the condenser yet, but I'm hoping what I did rules out points as part of my "no spark" problem. Am I correct or not?
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Old 05-31-2010, 12:36 AM   post #11 of 13
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

When the points are open, the meter should read the same as if it wasn't connected. When they are closed 1 ohm should be ok. You would do this test by slowly turning the engine by hand, not cranking it over with the starter.
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:25 PM   post #12 of 13
pintopkp
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

Just figured I'd let you guys know how I made out....

I ordered a new set of points and a condenser; OEM Kohler just to be safe. Cleaned the new points as per instructions, put them in, and set them to (what I thought) was .20. Gave the cord a pull and I got one good spark......then nothing. Well crap, I thought. So thinking that I maybe didn't tighten the points screw enough, I checked it again and found that it was very close to .20, but not exact. So, I tightened the gap up, checked, re-checked, and tried again. This time, nice, hot, blue, consistent spark. T'was a good lesson for me: .20 means .20...not close to .20.

Also, in case anyone ever needs the info, apparently Tecumseh part number 30560A can be used in place of the now obsolete/very hard to find Kohler coil for some of the K series engines. Didn't have to replace the coil, but looked it up just in case.

Once again, thanks all!

-Nick
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Old 06-07-2010, 11:51 PM   post #13 of 13
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Default Re: Testing Points/Condenser

The Kohler points,without the bracket,also fit Tecumseh HH series engines with points..(though most parts books wont say they will,because of the bracket!)..it's usually easier to find Kohler points..

Anyone besides me ever look at the HH120 Tecumsehs and their similar versions and think it was a Kohler?..even smaller Kohlers like the K-91's look a lot like the "die cast"Tecumsehs,even shared the same recoil housing..makes me wonder if the Tecumseh's were made by the same factory sometimes!..
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