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swhenrik
Moderator



Pengilly
MN
USA

4067 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2007 :  14:39:19  Show Profile  Visit swhenrik's Homepage
Yet another time I am using "Definitive" for a thread title! And yet another excuse to raise my post count!

OK seriously now....

Seems we get questions fairly often about "what's wrong with my kid's vehicle, it won't move, goes slow, poor runtime, won't climb hills, etc." Many of the issues can actually be answered with "how" to troubleshoot. So, here we go!

The potential problems could be anywhere, so a nice simple way to narrow it down is needed.

Edited by - swhenrik on 02/26/2008 10:49:50

swhenrik
Moderator

Pengilly
MN
USA



4067 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2007 :  14:39:53  Show Profile  Visit swhenrik's Homepage
If you have a vehicle that runs for a short period, and then stops, and starts again

The self-resetting breaker is most likely tripping.

There are a couple possible causes:
1. The breaker is bad
2. There is a problem somewhere else in the driveline
3. The vehicle is not being used as directed

If there are ANY modifications to the vehicle, the breaker is likely not enough anymore. You can replace it with a larger size at your own risk.

Finding the breaker is sometimes easier said then done. If there is a fuse breaker in the wire coming out of the battery, you found it. If not, there is one located within the top case of the battery where you can not see it. This is typical on newer Power Wheels and Peg Perego vehicles. Accessing it requires opening up the case of the battery. On Peg Perego's it relatively easy, see this thread for more info on the battery itself:
FAQ - How do I install a new battery?

On Power Wheels, it takes a little tender loving FORCE!

There are commonly breakers somewhere else on the vehicle also. Some Power Wheels vehicles have one next to the throttle pedal. Some Peg Perego's have one in the Bus Bar under the switches. More info on the bus bar's here:
FAQ - switch maintenance

Some more info about replacement breakers, sizing, and availability, can be found here:
FAQ - Do I need an inline fuse/circuit breaker?


Edited by - swhenrik on 09/03/2008 08:13:34
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swhenrik
Moderator

Pengilly
MN
USA



4067 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2007 :  14:47:46  Show Profile  Visit swhenrik's Homepage
If the vehicle won't move at all:

First of all, make sure the battery has been charged. On a new vehicle, with the charger included with the vehicle, this is usually quite a few hours. I'll come back to possible charger and battery problems in following posts.

Check the connections to make sure they are secure.

Look for inline fuses or breakers. Fuses are usually in relatively plain sight, as they need to be changed when they blow. The breakers are usually more hidden, but when they do "trip", they usually reset again after a few minutes.

Still won't go?

Hopefully you have a voltage meter. Some recommend they should be digital, but I don't have a preference, as long as it reads voltage.

All tests must be done with the wheels up and the throttle pedal pressed. Problems with tempermental parts, like switches or connections, won't show as a problem without a load, and these are typical problem areas. It is also a good way to find problems with the battery.

So, suspend the rear of the vehicle, either on blocks or from a hoist, whatever. Then either get a stick, or a helper, or some way to hold the pedal.

If there is a high/low switch, make sure it is in the "high" position. And press the pedal.

Are both rear wheels spinning? If in high speed, and you have 2 motors/gearboxes, they should both be spinning, and about the same speed.
- If one is spinning and not the other, skip to the post: If you have a vehicle that runs slowly, or not very much power
- If none are spinning, go to the next post.

Edited by - swhenrik on 01/11/2008 15:17:34
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swhenrik
Moderator

Pengilly
MN
USA



4067 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2007 :  14:58:53  Show Profile  Visit swhenrik's Homepage
If the vehicle won't move at all: (CONTINUED)

Start at one end of the wiring. I'll pick the motor end because it's pretty simple to access. Check the voltage on the motor.
- If the voltage is good (anything over 3 volts should make the motor spin), the motor is bad. More info here: Motors that work/ Replacement Motors
- If the voltage is zero, or close to, we'll check at the battery end.

Check out the posts below on Batteries and Chargers, test as stated. If the battery voltage is good, come back here.

Now, we need to try to find a way to test the battery with a load on it. The connectors are usually difficult to get into with meter clips or probes. Unfortunately, there's not an easy way around it. Sometimes you can push something into the back side of the plug, but you need to be careful to not short the battery.

Once you have the meter in there, test as stated below in Battery problems. If the voltage stays up, the problem is somewhere in the wiring harness between the battery and the motors.

So... next step is to continue testing for voltage at various location. Check the wires where they go into the first switch. Check again where they come out. If there's a difference, there's a bad switch.

You can clean it up and try it again, instructions here:
FAQ - switch maintenance
Or get a replacement from www.hobbymasters.com or one of the other vendors listed in the Reseller/Part Resources section.

Edited by - swhenrik on 09/03/2008 08:20:42
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swhenrik
Moderator

Pengilly
MN
USA



4067 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2007 :  15:04:45  Show Profile  Visit swhenrik's Homepage
If you have a vehicle that runs slowly, or not very much power

If there is a high/low speed selector, is it in high speed? Sometimes there's a high speed lockout screw installed from the factory that needs to be removed.

Next most common issue, and also easy to check, is a dead or bad battery. Scroll down to the post about "battery problems". And do NOT assume your battery is good, even a brand new one could be bad, or a bad charger.

If you eliminated the 2 things above, it's time to start testing. Start with the testing method in the post above, holding up the rear wheels, pressing the pedal, and seeing if both rear wheels turn or not. If only one is spinning, it's likely one of these problems:

1. A bad gearbox
2. Something is binding
3. A switch is bad
4. One motor is bad
5. The wiring to one motor is bad

If you hear the motor spinning, but the wheel isn't turning, you'll need a new gearbox. Go to the "Bad Gearbox" post below.

If you have binding, usually the wheel will turn, just slower then the other one. Severe binding is likely from a bent axle, which should be visible. If the axle is bent, straighten or replace it.

In order to diagnose anything else, you'll have to pull out the meter. Test for power at the motor. If you have full voltage, you most likely have a bad motor. Info here:
Motors that work/ Replacement Motors

If there is no power to the motor, we need to test another spot with the meter, near the switches. Follow the wires back from the motor that is not spinning to where they go into a plug. Test for power there. If there's power there, a wire to the motor is broke. If there's not power there, the switch is likely the problem. You can clean it up and try it again, instructions here:
FAQ - switch maintenance
Or get a replacement from www.hobbymasters.com or one of the other vendors listed in the Reseller/Part Resources section.

Edited by - swhenrik on 01/11/2008 15:14:22
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swhenrik
Moderator

Pengilly
MN
USA



4067 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2007 :  15:14:39  Show Profile  Visit swhenrik's Homepage
Charger problems

This one is a bit tricky to diagnose. Again, you'll need your meter. Don't waste time checking the voltage on the charger connection, it won't tell you anything.

To properly test a charger, check the voltage of a battery (preferable one that isn't dead), not connected to the charger, and remember/write down the voltage.

Then, connect the charger to the battery and plug it in, and check the voltage again.

There should be a definite rise in battery voltage. The amount of difference will depend on the charger's charge rate, the size of the battery, etc., but it will still be noticeable. If there's no change in battery voltage, the charger is shot.

Are you still using the charger that came with the vehicle? If yes, it's destroying the battery by under or over charging it. Get an automatic charger. More info here:
FAQ - Which charger should I use?

A battery should be stored FULLY charged. If not, it loses capacity relatively fast. Some of the automatic chargers have a "float" or even a "desulphate" feature, which is the ultimate way to store batteries long term (over the winter for example).

Edited by - swhenrik on 12/14/2007 13:17:37
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swhenrik
Moderator

Pengilly
MN
USA



4067 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2007 :  15:49:00  Show Profile  Visit swhenrik's Homepage
Bad gearbox

This is actually quite common. Sometimes it will be completely stripped and the vehicle won't move. Sometimes a broken tooth will get jammed between the gears and it will lock up. But most of the time is it just a clicking noise while driving.

Individual gears are NOT available seperate for purchase, anywhere. The only choices are getting a complete gearbox, or trying to find parts from other vehicles to combine.

Unfortunately, Power Wheels gearboxes are not available for purchase either, at least not authentic gearboxes. You can bring it to a Power Wheels service center, and for a reasonble fee (from what I've heard) they will replace a gearbox for you.

You CAN buy gearboxes for other brands of ride-ons, including Peg Perego, and non-oem Power Wheels gearboxes, from some online retailers, including http://www.kidswheels.com

eBay prices on gearboxes are ridiculous, usually many times what even a service center will charge.

You can find part numbers by going to www.hobbymasters.com and looking up your model. They are also the recommended source for the parts that are available from Power Wheels.

Also, check out The definitive "Gearbox" thread to learn more about your gearboxes.
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gameboy
Moderator

just north of austin
tx
USA



4796 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2007 :  20:56:00  Show Profile
Battery problems:

First off, for the kids safty the battery that is put into the ride on needs to be some type of sealed battery. There are now a few choices out there so make sure for the kids sake. More info here:
FAQ - Can I use a lawnmower type battery in my PW?
(The quick answer is, DEFINITELY NOT!)

To test a battery, first make sure it has a good charge. Then check the voltage.
A 12 volt battery at full charge should read anywhere from 13-13.7 volts.
A 6 volt battery should read anywhere from 6.5-7.2 volts.
A little bit over or under the stated readings can occur, but is not normal.

A 12v battery is considered dead at 10.5 volts and needs to be charged.
A 6v is dead at 5volts.
You should NEVER continue to run a battery until the vehicle stops moving. It causes immediate and permanent loss of capacity.

Even though a battery reads the correct voltage it may not have the capacity to run your ride-on. The easy way to test this is to give it a full charge and install. While it is installed, hook up your volt meter to the battery. Check the voltage reading. Press the "throttle" and look at the voltage again. If it drops below 10.5 volts, then chances are your battery is bad, or going bad, and sad to say, it's time to get a new one. More general info on batteries:
FAQ - All about batteries
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gameboy
Moderator

just north of austin
tx
USA



4796 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2007 :  22:19:56  Show Profile
also found this for charging questions, has battery info too.

http://www.modifiedpowerwheels.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=72
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HobbyMasters
Senior Modder

Red Bank
NJ
USA



1349 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2007 :  06:29:38  Show Profile  Visit HobbyMasters's Homepage
If the vehicle only has one forward speed and no reverse

Then it is either a motor that is bad, a problem with the wiring to that motor, or a bad shifter switch. Go back to the post:
"If you have a vehicle that runs slowly, or not very much power"
to further troubleshoot

If the shifter feels sloppy look there first.

HobbyMasters is the largest official Power Wheels Service Center
Saving the world one Power Wheels at a time.
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Kurt_Woloch
Journeyman Modder

Vienna
Austria
Austria



154 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2007 :  08:23:13  Show Profile  Visit Kurt_Woloch's Homepage
Having a bad battery can happen to basically new vehicles because they've been sitting in the warehouse for several months without having been charged, so the battery has suffered. And often the manufacturer or the vehicle in general gets the blame for the poor performance.

If there are two batteries in series, it may also be that one of them is bad and the other one is OK.
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