Chipper Problem

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by YellowDogSVC, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    Sorry for long post but I need some ideas.

    I had some issues with my Vermeer BC2000 today. It started up and ran fine but after a few minutes under load, I would lose all power to the panel and gauges and the motor would die. This only seemed to happen under load or when swinging the loader arm.

    I ended replacing both batteries. One battery was faulty. I checked all the grounds and the positive connections and tried it out and same thing happened. All power is lost, gauges go dead, motor dies.

    After a few seconds I hear a "pop" and the gauges come back and it will start. (circuit breaker resetting)

    There is a 150 amp circuit breaker wish a push to reset button. I believe I have narrowed it down to that breaker and I ordered the part. Pushing the button, though, when the power is disabled doesn't reset the breaker.

    The chipper doesn't have a very complicated wiring system and I checked all the wires.

    The Vermeer service manager was helpful troubleshooting on the phone and said that the circuit breakers wear out with age (mine is 8 years old) and possibly a voltage irregularity from the bad battery finished it off. The fact that it resets has me puzzled, though. If it was wore out, wouldn't it just stay open?

    For 150 amp breaker, that has to be a main cable that would be shorting, right? the smaller wires that go to loader controls or gauges wouldn't carry enough voltage to pop a big breaker like that, correct? If that doesn't fix the issue, does anyone have any good ideas?

    Thanks for the help.
  2. tallrick

    tallrick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    Generally a voltmeter connected across a breaker will diagnose the problem. Electrical current and moisture equal corrosion. Even without a short, corrosion inside a breaker can heat it up and cause it to open, if it is the thermal type. Chippers are mechanical and hydraulic, and the only electrical draw is really for charging batteries. My chipper is an old woodchuck with a Cummins diesel, and although it has no circuit breaker, it does have a reset relay that operates the stop solenoid. WHen I first got it the terminals on that relay had corroded, causing intermittent engine shutoff. Cleaning and lubricating with silicone grease fixed the problem.
  3. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    My connections looked pretty good. This breaker has a reset button BUT it was resetting on it's own. Like I said, I couldn't find a short but with the age of the breaker (8 yrs) and the vibration and the bad battery I thought that maybe the breaker had seen better days. Since it only happens under load, that has me puzzled. I guess it could be a coincidence and it just pops after about 30 seconds at full throttle either way. I was able to chip for about 30 minutes before this started which seems to point more to that breaker finally giving out and just popping easy.

    I'll find out today. I have a lot of work lined up and idle time is frustrating. :)
  4. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    The breaker didn't solve the problem. I checked all the grounds again and they are all tight.

    I know the engine temp is okay and the gauge also works but I wonder if a temp sensor that could shut the machine down could pop the breaker? I was able to run the machine after I installed the new breaker and when it reached what I would call operating temp and was under load, it would pop the breaker again.

    Any other ideas? Vermeer says they are backed up so it's up to me and my local mechanic to start looking for issues. If I did have a poor ground, would that cause a 150 amp breaker to keep tripping? The electrical system is fairly straightforward. Would the small gauge instrument cluster wires carry enough juice to pop a breaker that big?

    Thanks for any info.
  5. Jimmyed

    Jimmyed LawnSite Member
    from IN
    Messages: 82

    Sounds like you have a short somewhere if it is tripping the breaker. 150 amps is a lot. That would fry a small 12ga wire. Seems to me it is something in one of your positive cables rather than a ground... Something is grounding out or drawing way too many amps.
  6. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    We think now that the alternator has a short in it. We installed an inline resettable 30 amp fuse to get me through the day. The starter seemed to check out good and and alternator puts out 14 volts exactly but the mechanic thought that maybe it had a short in it. Other than that, there is not much else that has that gauge wire going to it other than the hydraulic jack but that circuit is either on or off if I'm not using it.

    We also added a second ground wire from the starter to the frame. There was a place for it but no ground was attached. Been like that for years.. so I just don't know.

    I was able to finish my job and move the equipment home so I'm happy. Vermeer was helpful this morning and gave my mechanic a place to start looking beyond the obvious.

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