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Electrical Diagnosis for Arctic Cats

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Published on Dec 29, 2009

Electrical Diagnosis for Arctic Cats. No spark condition. Low spark condition. Intermitten spark condition.

Open Ignition: Newer style ignition including the 1998 and newer ZRs and ZLs
A "normally open" ignition system. With this system a live wire goes from the ignition system to all of the switches. The switches are normally open, or not making connection, until in the "OFF" position. When in the "OFF" position the switch will ground the ignition wire to the chassis effectively "grounding out" the ignition system killing the spark. If a connecter becomes disconnected or if a wire gets cut then the switch will no longer turn off the engine. With the "normally closed" system if a connector comes loose or a wire gets cut the spark will stop until the wiring is repaired completing the circuit again.


Testing for all switch problems:
Just unplug the 4 prong connector


Closed Ignition: old style ignition .
A "normally closed" ignition which simply means that the wiring needs to have a closed circuit or uninterrupted circuit in order to run. If you cut any ignition wire in a "normally closed" system the engine will die because the power for the ignition runs through all of the switches; key, kill, tether, throttle safety switch, etc. If the connection to any of these is interrupted there will no longer be power to the ignition system and spark will cease. With the "normally closed" system if a connector comes loose or a wire gets cut the spark will stop until the wiring is repaired completing the circuit again. On the closed style ignition the center wire is the ground wire for both the kill switch and the throttle safety switch, so if you cut the center wire you are disabling both switches and opening the circuit so the engine won't run. All Cats 1997 and earlier run a closed ignition, with the exception of the 1997 ZR 580 that is open ignition,


Testing for all switch problems:
Unplug the 4 prong connector coming from the stator and put a jumper across the 2 wires that are not yellow.



Mixing the 2 ignitions
If you put a closed ignition (CDI and Stator) on an open ignition sled your sled will still run using the key to shut it off. The only hitch is that the key works backwards. If you unplug the 4 prong connection going to the switches, the sled will not run. Only on a complete open ignition can you unplug the 4 prong connector and still start the sled. I have a complete 93 ignition on a 2000 chassis and you can just unplug the 3 wire connector for the TSS/Kill switch in the handlebars and the sled will bypass the TSS and kill switch.

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