feeling a little dis-heartened about the happy time...

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by bluegoatwoods, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I have two MBs. Both 49cc happy times. Built them in April, 2008. So they're both just about a year old.

    The first one suddenly stopped running toward the end of last summer. Didn't take long to figure out that the magneto had gotten wet. I wasn't terribly concerned. It had other issues as well. My wife had beaten it up pretty badly.
    So I put it in the basement and rode my second MB the rest of the summer. Even some winter riding. Made a wind screen/fairing of sorts. That bike has been quite good to me, really. Though I have had to tinker with it a fair amount. About a month ago, it died the same way. Wet magneto.

    Not a big problem. I ordered a new magneto. And just for kicks I put it on the first bike. For a few weeks I've been playing with it, fixing it up and cleaning and waxing, etc. It's really a pretty good looking bike. (# 2 is more like the MB equivalent of the Clampett's old truck) Got it in good working shape over the last couple of weeks. Then I ordered a magneto for bike #2. Still waiting on that.

    Sunday morning (yesterday) I took a 12 mile ride in some good soaking (rather chilly) rain. No problem. Yesterday evening I started out on the same ride in similar conditions. Didn't get far before it quit. I haven't yet diagnosed the problem. But I know darn well what if felt like; wet magneto.

    This could be a problem. The cost of these new parts hasn't been so terrible, though I do have to be careful of being nickeled and dimed to death.
    But the time I"m putting into keeping these bikes running is beginning to worry me. If a day of labor is the price for riding 30 miles, then I have to wonder if it's worth it.

    I'm still a serious pedal-biker, so I'll be riding something in either case. (that's what I made last evening's ride on, as a matter of fact. And that was fine. People think I'm a nut riding in weather like that. But I know better; the auto-slaves are the nuts.)

    By the way, I am sealing these covers and the wire pass-through with silicone sealer.

    And better quality engines and drives are always a possibility. But I don't really want to spend hundreds of dollars.

    Oh well, I'm not really ready to give up just yet. I'm posting this mostly to advise the newbies. These are lovely little bike engines. But do keep in mind that they need looking after.

    See you all around.

  2. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    that was a nice way to sum it up there BGW
    lovely little bike engines. But do keep in mind that they need looking after..

    you mention that you sealed your unit from the rain
    any idea where the water is getting in
    case maybe ??

    maybe it's time for a quality set up
    one that will run for hunderds of hours with no troubles

    ride the MB thing sideways
  3. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    I know what you mean though it can also be viewed as false economy if you need two or three to keep one running. That's the deal breaker for me, plus I begrudge the time spent on redundant maintenance.

    To each their own, of course, but I've come to view the HT as an entry level and soon realized if this was something I was going to stick with long term I'd need to move on.
  4. mlcorson

    mlcorson Member

    Early in my career, I had to make a similar choice on a power tool I was considering buying. One was less expensive, but likely less reliable. The other, much more expensive, had a great reputation for being sturdy and very reliable. My father counseled me and said: "Buy the best... it's cheaper." That bit of advice has proven to be true many times since then. YMMV.
  5. seanhan

    seanhan Member

    Maybe it's time??

    For a reliable Japanese engine. Like a Robin, Tanaka, Mitsu, Honda,
    Talk about trouble free !!!!!!
    Always ready to roll .......
  6. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Are you using the blue wire to kill the ignition?
    I have a theory that this is what the problem is in many cases. The blue wire produces well over 100 volts AC to charge the capacitor in the CDI. This means the kill switch, which isn't waterproof, has over 100 volts of electrical potential inside of it. If water gets inside the switch, it could load down the stator (magneto) to the point where it kills the spark. I've always used the white wire to kill the ignition, since it only has 6 volts output and therefore less leakage current in the wet kill switch.
  7. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Sorry, folks. I mis-identified the trouble. It's not the magneto. I ran out of fuel.

    I can hear you laughing at me from here! :)

    But I swear it; I filled that tank just the other day. I couldn't have ridden more than 25 miles. So now I'm puzzled about why I used that much fuel that quickly. If my engine were running that rich, I think I'd know that something wasn't right. And if I was leaking that badly, then I'd think I'd have seen it. (I can't see any leak)

    So this is kind of strange.

    I filled it up yesterday and this morning I took another chilly rain ride. Once again, people think that there's something wrong with me. But it felt great. I'm drying off right now. Feet and hands a bit cold, but I'm happy.

    We're supposed to get better weather here in a couple of days. That'll give me a chance to inspect the bike thoroughly.

    As for the kill switch, RC, I don't use it at all. For pretty much the reason that you stated. I kill the engine using choke and throttle. The blue and the black conductors go to the CDI and nowhere else. And the white wire is folded over and taped. The kill switch just looks like trouble waiting to happen.

    So thanks for the suggestions. But this didn't turn out to be any real trouble at all.
    Just a minor bump in the road.
  8. spad4me

    spad4me Member

    I have so many miles on my kings bushing engine happy time the bicycle frame is shot.

    I am starting to break major pieces of the bicycle LOL
    I sealed everything with goop and red silastic rtv.
    Ugly but sealed.

    I recently added a tuned pipe and did a lot of mods ported polished transfer ports etc.

    The steel frame cannot handle the extra power.

    I am currently working on a home made front wheel pedal, rear wheel engine driven recumbent.
    The happy time has saved me thousands of dollars in insurance, repairs, maintenance over a car.
  9. bikeman6969

    bikeman6969 Member

    one word

    I have one word CHRISHILLCH80 the only two stroke you'll ever need
  10. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Now that you mention it, bikeman, I remember reading his website.

    I was impressed. I've had the notion that one day I might buy one of those.
  11. bikeman6969

    bikeman6969 Member


    I have had mine for over a year and it started after two pedals the frist time I started it and it has never let me down.It starts every time and goes and goes
  12. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    actually, bikeman, my experience hasn't been so terribly bad either. both of mine start easy. (except when the temp is below about 30 deg F. then you gotta pedal and pedal and pedal......) they have let me down a time or two. but components are going to break from time to time.

    they've mostly been pretty reliable.

    This thread is really a mistake; I started it when I was feeling let down by a brand new magneto. but that didn't turn out to be true. I still haven't figure out why I went through all that fuel so quickly, but that's another matter.

    all in all, I'm back to giving the happy time a pretty high rating.
  13. echotraveler

    echotraveler Member


    sealing the magneto sure sound like a plan for you.
  14. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    As of today, April 11, 2009 things are going pretty well. The bike is still getting me around.

    It's still going through more fuel than my other bike. That's got me puzzled. There's no difference between the two that I can see. But I'm not really concerned; it's efficient enough that fuel cost is not any big problem.
  15. duivendyk

    duivendyk Guest

    Is it a fact that shorting the white wire to ground reliably kills the ignition?The Blue wire is the output of the generator coil and has 100V ac plus on it.This is a potentionally dangerous voltage under wet conditions.The wiring to&from a kill switch on the blue wire carries all sorts of electrical EMI junk,that can play havoc with electrical gear like speedos.Use a high quality WATER PROOF switch.It does not make any difference really wether a shunt to ground or an in-line switch is used;A short will NOT damage the coil.
    If you find that a short to ground on the white wire kills the engine at full speed,use that instead,but if it does not remove the short,you might fry a portion of the generator coil and then find out that paradoxically the engine will only run with a short to ground on the white wire ! (For a ground return to bridge the open section of the coil)
  16. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Hi duivendyk,

    We appreciate your trying to share some useful knowledge. But I gotta tell ya; I didn't understand most of it. Could you be more clear?

    But dont' be in a hurry either; I'll read it again and take some time and see if I can digest it properly.
  17. duivendyk

    duivendyk Guest

    OK,I suppose I lapsed a bit into EE speak.Here follows a description of the ignition system found in the HT engines:
    In the engine is a generator coil,the flywheel magnet induces a large voltage in it when it comes by.One side of it is connected to the metal in the engine and a ground wire is brought out,the"black wire".The output of the coil is the "blue wire" it carries a high ac voltage,over 100Volts,a short a high amplitude ac wiggle.This output goes to the CD unit which uses this input to charge a capacitor as thee nergy storage device.At the right time the energy stored in this cap is dumped into a step-up pulse transformer,(rather like an ignition coil), which then fires the plug.
    To get back to the generator coil,it has a tap on it fairly close to the ground side,the "white wire".It acts as a low voltage output of the generator coil.The coil is what we in the trade call an auto-transformer (it has only one tapped winding instead of normally 2 or more).Shorting the white wire to ground puts a heavy load on the coil and reduces the output at the Blue wire substantially and with it the output spark voltage, keeping the plug from firing.This is one theory as to what the intended purpose of the WW is.It maybe correct I don't really know for sure.The other is that it is an output to run lights with,I'm inclined to rather doubt this.Using a switch to ground on the WW is a safe way to kill the engine,preferably carry the ground return back to the engine and use a high quality water proof switch
    So far so good,now how to kill the spark.One way to do this is to short the WW to ground,(hopefully) killing the output of the generator coil.This is fine but not as sure fire as disconnecting the CD unit from the Blue Wire or shorting the Blue wire to ground.
    I think it should work reliably, but it is conceivable that at high speed (high output from Blue wire) the reduction is not sufficient to keep the plug from firing.If the engine keeps running you have a high current in the WW and you could fry that part of the coil ,then the coil has no ground return and no output on the Blue wire,but providing that return with the grounding switch would accomplish this.That was the "paradoxical" situation I referred to previously.(This has actually been reported & I figured out what had happened).
    Only a 20 volts or so are on the WW so that's pretty safe to fool around with,not so with the Blue wire,this output is definitely not benign it has over 100 V on it and carries a substantial current (a few amps at least during the ignition interval) and is loaded with all sorts of EMI crud.It's not a safe output, anything over 50 V is not safe for humans under wet conditions.As far as EMI is concerned the longer the wire and the more current it carries the worse it gets.If a series switch in the Blue wire is used to ikeep the Blue wire output from getting to the CD unit the current&voltage from the generator coil is carried to the switch&back to the engine ALL the time,if the switch is on the handlebars,this is the worst situation.The current in the wires create a magnetic field which is difficult to shield against (Normal RFI shielding is ineffective),the best thing is to keep the wires close together and twist,them.The best thing is not to do this in the first place and locate this switch close to the engine as a hidden antitheft device.If the kill switch on the Blue wire is used to short the coil output to ground,the wire to it carries no current normally,so magnetic fields are not a problem,but RFI (radio freq. interference) still is.I should mention that the magnetic field can play havoc with speedos etc by inducing spurious voltages in them.(twist the leads together!!)
    In any case if you use the Blue wire to kill the engine,use a waterproof high quality switch,for your own protection but also to obviate leakage to ground which can mess up the ignition.The notion that shorting the coil output to ground can injure it is nonsense,while the engine comes to a halt, high currents are in the shorted coil,but that lasts just a few seconds at most.The amount of heating resulting from it is completely negligeable,I figured it out,making reasonable assumptions.I hope this explains things.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2009