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12 volt versus 110 volt starter?


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#1 MFDAC OFFLINE  

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Posted November 09, 2011 - 09:25 PM

Hello all,
I have been working on my MF8E that does not have the original engine. A little over a year ago I put a 10 HP Tecumseh from a snowblower on it. That engine has the 110-120 volt plug-in for the starter. My question---is that box with the start switch on it also a step-down transformer to 12 volt? I would like to just go to 12 volt with a battery. The starter outwardly looks much like the 12 volt starter on my MF12. I do have the original wiring harness and starter/generator for the MF8E but setting up a flywheel pully and brackets may be more than I can tackle right now with winter here. Just been lucky we haven't had a bunch of snow yet! I would think that there is no charging system in the snowblower setup. (captain obvious)--LOL

Thanks for any tips on doing this or if it is even feasable!

MF 8E 11-9-11 001.jpg
Later---DAC

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#2 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 09, 2011 - 10:19 PM

I dont think it's a transformer, i think that it may have a diode in it, but a better guess is it's an AC motor. You could check to see if it has permanent magnets & that would give you a clue on AC/DC but I think you're in the market for a starter.
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#3 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 09, 2011 - 10:21 PM

Of course, you always could use the AC to start it when cold and that little black handle to start it once it's warmed up & you happen to stall it. :laughingteeth:
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#4 trinity5001 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 09, 2011 - 10:26 PM

its possible that the box contains a transformer but unlikely the current management needed would be costly. a starter can draw several amps trying to turn an engine over. thus the transformer would need to be able to handle it. to do that it can get quite big. thus it makes more economical sense to run a 110 - 120 starter when drawing from a mains power (aka house plugs). even tho the starters may look the same they can be completely different inside. the only way to know for sure what is in the box would be to carefully open it and take a peek. but be careful there will probably be seals to keep the box water tight. but switching from a 110/120 starter to a battery powered 12 volt starter would be just switching out the starters themselves. you would have to check and make sure everything lined up for it to be able to turn the engine properly. if u have the wiring for the 12 volt starter that would make things easier. if not a starter circuit isn't that complicated usually its just a push button which activates a high current relay which starts the starter if u want a circuit diagram i can scetch one but u can find them online as well.

hope this helps

Edited by trinity5001, November 09, 2011 - 10:32 PM.

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#5 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted November 10, 2011 - 05:18 AM

No, as others have said, it's a 120 volt motor. I think a 12 volt starter will bolt on though. I have a big Ariens walk behind with a 12volt starter on it. It has a key switch for the starter. If the engine is in good shape the pull start works pretty well on those as long as the engine is positioned so you can pull it without interference to the rope or your hand.
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#6 mjodrey OFFLINE  

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Posted November 10, 2011 - 05:36 AM

Yes,as Brian said,a 12 volt starter will bolt right up.
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#7 MFDAC OFFLINE  

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Posted November 10, 2011 - 08:22 PM

I dont think it's a transformer, i think that it may have a diode in it, but a better guess is it's an AC motor. You could check to see if it has permanent magnets & that would give you a clue on AC/DC but I think you're in the market for a starter.


Ok, I imagine that there would be no way that the battery would stay charged either.

Of course, you always could use the AC to start it when cold and that little black handle to start it once it's warmed up & you happen to stall it. :laughingteeth:


Yeah I know, LOL, but last winter I was battling a cancer and couldn't pull the rope hard enuff when I would kill the engine accidently. I am completely healed up now and last night I did fine pull starting it. It was a pain dragging a cord out to start it!

its possible that the box contains a transformer but unlikely the current management needed would be costly. a starter can draw several amps trying to turn an engine over. thus the transformer would need to be able to handle it. to do that it can get quite big. thus it makes more economical sense to run a 110 - 120 starter when drawing from a mains power (aka house plugs). even tho the starters may look the same they can be completely different inside. the only way to know for sure what is in the box would be to carefully open it and take a peek. but be careful there will probably be seals to keep the box water tight. but switching from a 110/120 starter to a battery powered 12 volt starter would be just switching out the starters themselves. you would have to check and make sure everything lined up for it to be able to turn the engine properly. if u have the wiring for the 12 volt starter that would make things easier. if not a starter circuit isn't that complicated usually its just a push button which activates a high current relay which starts the starter if u want a circuit diagram i can scetch one but u can find them online as well.

hope this helps


I did pull those screws out of that box but it seems it is also glued so I didn't tear into it any further. I had thought just maybe I could cut the cable coming out of that box and attach a terminal to bolt it to a switch/battery setup, eliminating that switch.

No, as others have said, it's a 120 volt motor. I think a 12 volt starter will bolt on though. I have a big Ariens walk behind with a 12volt starter on it. It has a key switch for the starter. If the engine is in good shape the pull start works pretty well on those as long as the engine is positioned so you can pull it without interference to the rope or your hand.


The rope angle is fine it was just me for awhile. What I may do then is to see if I can set up a pully and try to retrofit the original starter generator eventually. It will probably be just fine this winter.

Yes,as Brian said,a 12 volt starter will bolt right up.


It sure looks the same on the outside as the 12 volter on the MF12. Looks like they are pretty spendy starters,tho!

#8 trinity5001 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 10, 2011 - 10:20 PM

it might be wise then to not break seals or wires but just remove the starter and accompanying boxes. and just go straight to a 12 volt starter. then you have that as a spare if you ever need it. you can go to repair shops that work on small engines they tend to have spare parts lying around you might be able to get a starter cheep. u should be able to get all the parts u need for new circuits.
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#9 DH1 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 11, 2011 - 05:47 PM

In side that box all your going to find is a push button momentary contact switch.
If the snow blower the engine came off of has lights or heated handles then the motor will have charging coils in it, but the output is probably AC not DC volts.
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#10 MFDAC OFFLINE  

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Posted November 12, 2011 - 08:19 PM

it might be wise then to not break seals or wires but just remove the starter and accompanying boxes. and just go straight to a 12 volt starter. then you have that as a spare if you ever need it. you can go to repair shops that work on small engines they tend to have spare parts lying around you might be able to get a starter cheep. u should be able to get all the parts u need for new circuits.


Yeah that is probably the smartest thing to do, and I can think of 2 outfits in the area that may have some used parts.

In side that box all your going to find is a push button momentary contact switch.
If the snow blower the engine came off of has lights or heated handles then the motor will have charging coils in it, but the output is probably AC not DC volts.


Yes the snowblower had unswitched headlights. They would just be on whenever the engine was running. I will look at the lights and see what voltage they are!

Thank you all for the help!

Later---DAC

#11 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 12, 2011 - 09:46 PM

If you find that the output is 13+ v AC, you may be able to put a diode on it and at least get some charge. I'd definitely figure out the current of the lamps and fuse it near that to keep from burning out what's in there.

#12 trinity5001 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2011 - 09:33 PM

if the output is AC i would suggest using a voltage regulator instead of a diode. that way you get a more even and regulated output. and then you know it can handle any amount of current required for running and charging purposes.

#13 MFDAC OFFLINE  

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Posted December 04, 2011 - 08:48 PM

if the output is AC i would suggest using a voltage regulator instead of a diode. that way you get a more even and regulated output. and then you know it can handle any amount of current required for running and charging purposes.


All I have had time to do was take the headlight assembly off the snowblower. I wasn't able to read the print on the back of the bulb, so I figured what the heck and just hooked the good one to 12 volt and it works fine. The other bulb was obviously bad as it was blackened on the inside and an ohm meter registered no continuity. So far then we have concluded the charging system of that 10 HP Tecumseh must be 12 volt DC current. We already know the starter is 115 volt AC. Replace starter and add a voltage regulator to keep from overcharging the battery?

Thanks for all the help so far!

Later---DAC

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  • Snow bower headlights 001.jpg
  • Snow bower headlights 003.jpg


#14 trinity5001 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 07, 2011 - 11:51 PM

ya that would be a good plan. i would suggest looking into different voltage regulators to find one that meets your needs not all are the same. you won't need one that can pass 20 to 30 amps. doubt the engine would produce that much any way. but its an example. look around at different costs and outputs (voltage, current, etc...) to find one that works best. and good luck sounds like it would be well worth the effort.

#15 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted December 08, 2011 - 05:11 AM

Although a regulator is the best solution in technical terms most of the small engines out there use only a diode. The impedance and voltage output of the coils is designed to provide a current to run the lighting load for the blower. There likely isn't a lot of extra capacity for charging a battery. If you have a switch for the lights on the tractor then with the lights off the current would be available to charge the battery. If you use a good sized battery it probably won't overcharge. Many of the basic newer tractors don't use a regulator, just a diode. So you could get away with that setup.




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