In this article, we cover the three most common problems preventing your log splitter's electric start engine from starting and how to resolve them.
Oh boy, you can't start your engine using the electric starter. Now what?
First, try to start the engine using the pull start recoil. If you can't pull start the engine, then there could be a problem with the electric start panel. This is very uncommon, but if you can't start the engine using the pull start, you'll need to contact customer support. If you have success pull-starting the engine, then read on.
Reason #1: Dead or Weak Battery
Not surprisingly, a dead or weak battery is the leading cause of electric starting issues. If your log splitter has not been used in months, most likely the battery is either dead or too weak to start the engine.
One of the quickest ways to determine if your battery is the culprit is to jump-start the log splitter engine with your car's battery.
Caution: Be sure to shut off your car's engine before you attempt to jump-start the log splitter engine. If your car's engine is running, you will fry the log splitter battery.
If you are able to jump-start the engine with your car battery, then you know the log splitter battery is the problem.
A battery isn't a "tank" of electricity - you can't use some and infinitely store the rest for later. A lead-acid battery is simply a plastic box holding a delicate balance of chemicals that are ready to produce electricity when a load is applied.
Using a voltage meter is the best way to determine the state of charge (SOC for short) of your battery.
|State of Charge (SOC)||Voltage (v)|
|100%||12.7 - 13.2|
|Discharged||0 - 11.9|
A weak battery can cause all kinds of trouble. In fact, letting your battery sit unused will result in a 1% voltage loss per day. That's why it's a good idea to always keep your battery on a trickle charger when not in use.
All lead-acid batteries (Gel, AGM, Flooded, Drycell, etc) are a series of 2.2-volt cells, bridged together to make up the total voltage. For example, a 12v battery has 6 cells (6 x 2.2 = 13.2 volts). When you measure the voltage immediately after removing a fully charged 12v battery from the charger it should read between 12.7 and 13.2 volts.
The resting voltage, or the voltage a battery will settle at 12-24 hours after being removed from a charger, is actually closer to 2.1 volts per cell, or about 12.7 volts for a 12v battery. Of course, these numbers assume that the battery has perfectly healthy cells, and readings may be a bit lower with older batteries.
It's quite common to repeatedly draw down the voltage in your battery when the engine's charging circuit is not allowed sufficient time to charge the battery. Electric starting your engine and running it for less than an hour will use more battery power than it will replace.
If you have a voltage meter handy, check the reading on your battery while you're electric starting the engine. If it drops below 11 volts, the battery is too weak to start your engine. A reading of 10.5 or lower is a good indication of a dead cell.
Tech Note: Cold Weather Starting
Even with a good, healthy battery, cold weather is a big factor when starting your engine. Engine oil thickens up, and the effort it takes to crank over the engine increases. It may take a good 5-10 attempts before the engine finally cranks over. You can speed this process up dramatically by taking your machine inside a warm garage for 15-20 minutes before attempting to start the engine.
Reason #2: Circuit Breaker Tripped
Some electric start panels come equipped with a circuit breaker or circuit protector. This is basically a resettable fuse. It's a small button somewhere on the panel that functions much like a circuit breaker in your house's electrical panel.
When the button is pressed in, the circuit is connected and gives the electric start panel power. When the button is popped out, the circuit is not connected and your electric start panel is no longer powered (sometimes due to a slight surge, or overload, of power).
On Raven engines sold with the RuggedMade log splitters, this small button is located toward the bottom of the panel.
Make sure this button is pressed in, and then try the electric starter again.
If your electric start panel doesn't have a circuit protector button, then it probably has an actual fuse inside. You can open the panel up and check and/or replace this fuse and then try the electric starter again.
Reason #3: Reversed Wiring
The most common mistake when connecting a battery to the electric start panel on an engine for the first time is connecting it backwards. It can be tricky to know you did this because the panel will get power and will turn your engine over - it will actually just turn it backward!
Obviously, the engine won't ever start this way, but, since it sounds like it's just not cranking over, it can be very confusing.
Don't worry, we all do things like this. Fortunately, this issue is quick and easy to diagnose and fix.
First, make sure the black wire is connected to the negative terminal on the battery, and to a suitable grounding point on the other end, such as one of the bolts that mount the engine to the frame.
Next, make sure the red wire is connected to the positive terminal on the battery, and to the post on the back of the starter solenoid.
Make sure they are tight and clean connections. Once you're sure the battery is wired properly, try the electric starter again.