1. staplerformilton

    staplerformilton Puttering Along

    Went to drive my 600 over the weekend and the 6v battery was down. Put it on my 6v charger for a while and got the engine to turn over but not enough charge to start. Thought maybe the battery had a bad cell. Took it to Interstate Battery, they tested it, said it was good. They kept it all day to bring it up to full charge. When I put the battery back in the car, I turned on the ignition and there was no red light coming on in the dash anymore. The positive wire that goes into the dash got warm and nothing else was getting any power so that has to be a short. Im having a heck of a time finding where the short is happening though. Is there any particular place I should look? Is there something that typically just randomly shorts out? What am missing here?
  2. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    You can test cranking power by putting a screwdriver blade across the starter motor battery terminal and solenoid terminal. If you don't get a good reaction, suspect the battery cables or terminals corroded. If that test is good, then a multimeter is your friend and methodically test for correct voltage at the battery feed wire into and out of the regulator and fuses checking for any unsheathed wires causing a short.
  3. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    One day I went to crank my Trabant (also 6 volt but shouldn't matter) and all circuits were dead. Even the dome light. The odd thing was I had just put the transmission back in the car and went on a test drive and stopped at my parent's house for a chit chat. When I got back in a few minutes later, the car wouldn't start.

    I did some tests and everything passed. Battery was around 6.2 volts. Even the battery cables checked out OK using an ohms meter but apparently they just went "bad". This is the first time I've ever tested a wire/circuit and it passed the ohmmeter's test but ended up being bad. New battery cables fixed the problem.

    I used a set from AutoZone and they have been working fine for four years. I realize Autozone may not be known for selling the best replacement parts but the replacement battery cables I've seen for sale these days (Advance Auto, Wal-Mart) use plated steel connectors instead of lead. I would not recommend using plated steel as a battery connectors due to acid vapors. Once the plating corrodes and you scrape it off, you are left with bare steel which corrodes worse.

    Lead you can scrape off any corrosion with one of those battery terminal brush tools. The cables with lead connectors from AutoZone sell for the same price as the ones from Advance with steel connectors. Although lead is not a precious metal. I guess 95% of the cost of a battery cable is the copper. Also those steel connectors are hard to tighten with a wrench.

    But what baffles me is my Subaru uses plated steel connectors!
  4. Andrew353w

    Andrew353w Newbie

    I've just fitted a new battery to my Subaru Forester, the one in the car being the original one with which the car was built. While doing so I fitted a battery immobiliser, to prevent the car from being stolen. It's an intriguing device, allowing 25 amps to pass via a fuse, which blows when the starter is operated, unless the bolt is in place, allowing the full load to pass. The plated steel terminals were in perfect condition when I removed them; the car is 11 years old, with 50,000 miles and I believe the reason for using this type of connector is to reduce weight. The positive terminal weighs next to nothing compared to a lead one although it's not as flexible.
  5. Andrew353w

    Andrew353w Newbie

    This is fascinating! When I was working as a mechanic I was called out to a non-starter with similar symptoms; everything was in place & no worries or leads were loose. EVENTUALLY (& it took some finding.....) I diagnosed a resistance between the positive battery terminal post and the lead connector on the end of the copper wire. By removing the connector & cleaning up both the battery post and the inside edge of the connector I fixed it & the car fired perfectly!

    I've run a few 6 volt Daf cars and I know that 6 volt electrics need more careful fettling to keep them in tip-top condition.
  6. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Back in 2000, my father purchased what is now mine, a 1998 Chevrolet full size conversion van. In the time he owned it, he had replaced the battery about six or seven times. About a year or two before I bought it from him, one day it would not start at his job and needed me to jump start the van and borrow my Subaru for a doctor's appointment. I was able to jump start the van. When I got home, I was finally going to get to the bottom of this 10 year old problem.

    So I drove the van home and never did I see the voltmeter drop below 12.6 volts so the charging system was good. When I got home, I shut the engine off and sure enough the van wouldn't start. The first thing I noticed was the lights and all the accessories worked as normal. I checked the battery voltage at 12.6. This is one of those GM vehicles with those stupid side post battery terminals. GM's worst mistake ever. These were used on GM vehicles as far back as 1976, but I think they finally did away with them in the last few years because everybody hated them. Also the threaded posts on some batteries are not as deep as others. So sometimes stacking a couple of flat washers between the bolt and the backside of the connector is required, otherwise the bolt bottoms out and the cable does not tighten up.

    I thought perhaps it was the starter. I wiggled the positive terminal and this time the van started with no problem.

    I had always noticed two cables going to the positive side of the battery but always ASSumED they shared a single connector. I cut the red rubber cap back and to my amazement it was actually two cables with two connectors with a lead bung between each. The cable that touches the battery goes to the fusebox and the one that overlaps it goes to the starter. Here was what I found:


    [​IMG]

    Here is the lead spacer (or bung) sandblasted:

    [​IMG]

    Once the corrosion was cleaned off and a liberal amount of electrical grease was applied to both connectors (and flat washers for spacers), I have never had an issue
    with starting other than those cheap "blemished" batteries going bad. Blemished my ass, more like failed the final test after it came off the assembly line
    and stacked on a pallet and sold off as defective batteries. I asked the guy who sold these for $50 a piece what the deal was and he said the casings had a defect and they could not be sold as "new".

    Another thing that aggravated the problem was the company that converted the van added two positive connectors and one ground using those Y type
    connectors for something (TV and rear radio perhaps). I don't know the proper term for this connector but they are kind of like ring connector with a slot cut so they can be slipped
    between a bolt and whatever without actually having to remove the bolt.

    They placed these between the battery and battery cables which made an even poorer connection! I went to the auto part store and bought one of those dual post batteries and some marine terminals which connect to the top posts and are used specifically for the accessories.

    [​IMG]
  7. Keri

    Keri Leader

    Trabant 6v wiring is very simple, and several things are unfused. The feed wire getting warm certainly sounds like a short circuit to ground, and not just a poor connection.

    I don't have a schematic for a 600, but rather one for a 601 which should be similar.

    The Battery (+) feed wire leading into the car originally starts at the starter (+) terminal, also know as Circuit 30. From there, it goes to the regulator terminal 51 and branches off into the car. This B+ wire "should" be RED, at least on a 6v 601.

    Once inside the car, the circuit 30 (B+) goes to the unfused side of Fuse #8, where is branches off (still unfused!) to the ignition switch terminal 30. The fusebox may be different on a 600.

    A good test for you to undertake:

    1- Does the short occur with the ignition switch in the "Off" position? This would be evident when connecting the battery, as there will be a very dangerous spark when connecting the terminal to a recently-charged battery, and the #30 wire will immediately start to heat up.
    If this is the case, make sure to wear full face and eye protection, as the battery is likely to explode if recently charged!
    With the key "off" likely shorts in Circuit 30 RED wires are:
    at the regulator, but this won't affect the wire leading into the car,
    at the passage through the firewall,
    around the ignition switch,
    and especially around the fusebox.


    2- If the short does NOT occur with the ignition switch in "OFF" position, this eliminates circuit 30.
    A more likely suspect would then be circuit 15, probably BLACK wires, which goes from the ignition switch terminal 15 to 2 places: One branch goes straight to the ignition coils, and...
    The second branch goes to Fuse #7 where the UFUSED side branches off to 1- the generator charge warning light, and 2- Terminal 15 of the turn signal switch, which is used to control high-beam selection.

    Likely unfused short circuits for circuit #15, (Ignition +, BLACK wires) are:
    passage through the firewall leading to the ignition coils,
    at and around either terminal 15 at either ignition coil, or even a shorted coil (rare)
    at or around the Ignition switch
    at or around the back of the speedometer, at the charge indicator
    or, most likely, if your 600 has this, at or around the turn signal switch, terminal 15.


    I am not fond of the many unfused circuits in Trabants and many other vintage cars. My 601, aka Comrade Trabi, has EVERYTHING fused except the starter, with a more up-to-date wiring configuration.


    Good luck and be safe!
  8. staplerformilton

    staplerformilton Puttering Along

    Thanks everyone for the input. thanks Keri for that excellent set of information!
    You’re right it’s unnerving how several circuits aren’t protected by fuses at all. The short occurs even with the ignition off. And using the method of deduction (removing one fuse minute time) I discovered that the circuit affected by the short is not connected to the fuse box . So basically I’ve traced it to this thing and I think it is a relay box. Is that right? Anyway I’m pretty sure I shorted it out. I can’t find any bare wires anywhere under the dash or in the firewall. Can I get a replacement part somewhere?[​IMG]
  9. staplerformilton

    staplerformilton Puttering Along

    OK well for some reason I can’t get the image to post. I’ve wasted 30 minutes trying to get this stupid reply to post so whatever. Anyway it’s a little square gadget on the firewall right next to where the wires go into the firewall. I’m pretty sure it’s a relay. And I’d like to get another one. Where can I order one.
  10. staplerformilton

    staplerformilton Puttering Along

  11. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    The probable reason why you can't post your photos is that they are too large a file. I generally have to put the pictures into a photo shop program and reduce the size by half or more and then try again to post with the reduced photo. The "box" that you refer to is the regulator which controls the voltage going to the car battery and electrics. The dynamo/generator puts out quite a lot more voltage than 6v and needs to be controlled to a steady acceptable voltage. If you think your regulator is faulty then a replacement one can be ordered from Trabantwelt.de or similar Trabant spares companies. It may be a good plan to go to your auto electrician for them to check if your theory is right in the first instance.
  12. brand

    brand Newbie

    Try using imgur.com to drop images
  13. Keri

    Keri Leader

    Question:

    Is this "relay box inside the car, or under the hood? Could you write down the terminal numbers on it? If may have numbers like "15", "31" "56", etc...

    If under the hood, that would be the voltage regulator, and it is certainly unfused. A sticking contact of the cutout relay would be a likely culprit.

    If under the dash, you might be referring to either a turn signal flasher, or the high beam / low beam relay.
    The turn signal flasher "should" be on a fused circuit, and is fed through the hazard switch, if equipped.

    The Low beam / High beam relay contacts are fed through the headlight switch, which is unfused circuit 30 (battery), and the relay coil is fed through the turn signal switch, which is unfused circuit 15 (key on).
    If the headlight switch is "off" and the ignition is "off", there should be no power at the Low / High relay.

    If the car is wired up correctly!
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
  14. staplerformilton

    staplerformilton Puttering Along

    sorry for the frustration earlier. I hate computers. More of a simple air-cooled 2 stroke car kinda guy.
    Thanks for the patince and careful advice! Yes looks like it must be the voltage regulator. I think Ive managed to post a picture. We shall see...[​IMG] Alright well I got it as small as I can get it and it still wont embed in the post but you can click on the bracket and it takes you to the photo. In the pic, the disconnected wire is the one that stops the short. Looks like this is the main power into the regulator?
  15. brand

    brand Newbie

    [​IMG]

    I got the picture for you.
  16. staplerformilton

    staplerformilton Puttering Along

    Wow thanks!
    So I looked on Trabantwelt and doesn’t look like they have one available. Anybody know where I can get one? Or can it be fixed?
  17. mati0921

    mati0921 Loyal Comrade

  18. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    I have an original 6v regulator for sale taken off a donor car recently. 30 bucks is the price plus the cost of shipping if you are interested. I am in the UK.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  19. staplerformilton

    staplerformilton Puttering Along

    Sweet! Sure PM me your PayPal info and i’ll Send you some money
  20. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

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