What Electrical Parts does a Side by Side Use?
Side by Side models use an electrical system very similar to motorcycles and other powersports vehicles. Most Side by Sides have three related electrical systems with different components. The charging system keeps the battery charged to run the other electronics on the vehicle. The ignition system times and fires the spark plugs correctly depending on the position of the motor as it rotates. The ignition system is generally powered from the battery, but in some models may be powered directly from the stator itself. Finally, the lighting system usually runs from battery current and operates all the lights on the vehicle through the ignition and switches.
The Charging System
The charging system has a stator that uses a magnetic flywheel to generate electrical current for charging the battery. Alternating current from the stator flows through a regulator-rectifier unit, which converts the stator output to direct current for the battery, and limits the battery voltage so it is not damaged from overcharging. Depending on the make and model, the stators can sometimes include a coil to power the ignition system directly. Stators often include a separate component called a pulser or pickup coil that generates a timing signal for the ignition system. The pulser coil is mounted just outside the diameter of the flywheel, and a timing signal is created as a ridge on the flywheel passes near the coil. The flywheel is keyed to a known position of the motor, so the ignition module (often called a CDI box) can calculate the correct timing for firing the spark plugs.
The Ignition System
The ignition system on a Side by Side motor is electronic, usually controlled by a component called a CDI Box, or Capacitive Discharge Ignition module. Some manufacturers may call these an ECM (Engine Control Module) or other name, especially on models with Fuel Injection where the timing of the fuel pulse is related to the ignition timing. From the previous paragraph, you can tell that the ignition system is related to the charging system in a couple ways. Many models use a pulser coil attached to the stator to generate a timing signal, and many CDI boxes are powered from the battery, which is charged by the stator. While the CDI or ECM relies mainly on the timing signal from the pulser coil, it also takes other factors into account to fire the spark plugs. Many Side by Side motors have a Throttle Position Sensor to tell the CDI how far open the throttle is, which especially helps optimize engine power as the throttle is modulated quickly. The ignition timing advance can then be accurately calculated for optimal power, fuel economy and other objectives depending on the type of CDI and application. This makes for efficient, powerful, and reliable motors in Side by Sides. The CDI box then triggers the ignition coils which quickly deliver thousands of volts to the spark plugs to create a powerful spark at just the right time.
The Lighting System
Finally, the lighting system relies on a good working charging and ignition system to keep the motor running well, and therefore the battery charged up. Current from the battery can then be used to power the headlights, tail/brake lights, interior and dash lights, and more through the switchgear on the dash and in the cab.
All electrical systems and components on a Side by Side must be in good working condition for a reliable vehicle. It's important to use high quality and reliable components on your Side By Side, and RMSTATOR can provide them for your model.