Can You Run A Snowmobile Without A Voltage Regulator?


You went out for a ride in the snow, and all of a sudden, your voltage regulator went off; maybe even your light bulbs stopped working or even blew out. Most snowmobile riders would start worrying about the CDI and the stator, as these two are some vital pieces to make a snowmobile work.

You can actually run a snowmobile without the voltage regulator. You just have to make sure to return to your home before the sun goes down. Do not worry about the CDI or stator. The lighting system is the one that needs the voltage regulator, and the ignition system works separately from the lighting system.

If you still have some questions, read more for all the details about your snowmobile and its voltage regulator.

CDI? Stator? What are those anyway?

The CDI and the stator of your snowmobile are critical pieces of equipment that are highly necessary for the correct function of your snowmobile, so it is good for you to know what these parts do.

Let’s start with the CDI. This piece of equipment comes in the shape of a box, and it is an essential piece of snowmobiles. If your CDI box fails, you will have to decide whether you give up riding your snowmobile or find a way to repair the issue.

The CDI box is an electronic unit that controls the ignition system of your snowmobile. CDI means Capacitor Discharge Ignition, and it is in charge of igniting the spark in the motor through the spark plug and ignition coil. The CDI is able to release energy very quickly and has the capacity to charge faster than the standard inductive system.

Now, talking about the stator, it also is an electronic device inside the engine compartment that generates the electrical current necessary for the proper functioning of the snowmobile, like charging the battery, running the lights, the ignition, and other electronic functions. In other words, it generates electrical power for the snowmobile.

If you have owned your snowmobile for a while, the chances of you needing to replace the stator are high. Some problems you might face for having a defective stator are:

  • Having issues keeping the battery charged.
  • The engine dies from ignition failure.
  • The snowmobile is running poorly.
  • It might be hard to start your snowmobile.

What does a voltage regulator do?

The voltage regulator is a piece of equipment that helps regulate voltage levels to provide steady and reliable voltage. The voltage regulator will provide a fixed output voltage that will remain constant, even with any input voltage change or load conditions. 

The steady voltage generated by the voltage regulator provides a constant flow of energy for accessories and light bulbs so they do not stop working or blow out.

What happens if the voltage regulator fails?

A defective or broken voltage regulator can dramatically reduce the alternator’s capacity to cycle electricity from the battery. External systems, such as headlights and dashboard components, may dim or flash as a result of this.

What happens when you run your snowmobile without a voltage regulator?

A snowmobile can run without a voltage regulator. But in this case, you want to make sure you disconnect the lighting circuit to avoid the light bulbs from blowing out, as this circuit is connected to the stator lighting coil, which will be becoming active as soon as you start the engine. 

Suppose you forget to disconnect the lighting circuit. In that case, the lights will turn on extraordinarily bright, and they will blow out immediately. Also, some states require a functioning lighting system or headlights even during the daytime, so make sure to solve any issues with the regulator as soon as possible.

Will a snowmobile run with a bad voltage regulator?

Yes. A bad voltage regulator will not have any impact on the ignition system. The voltage regulator is only connected to the lighting circuit and the accessories of your snowmobile. 

On the other hand, a bad voltage regulator will probably cause a peak or might weaken the light of the snowmobile, causing the bulbs to blow out; it can even cause the hot grips to melt.

Symptoms of a bad voltage regulator

Like people, engines, circuits, and systems, they start to show some symptoms when they get damaged. Below, we mention the most common symptoms of a bad voltage regulator:

  • High peaks of voltage.
  • Dips in the voltage.
  • Flickering or dimming lights.
  • A peak in the intensity of the lights, and then they blow out.
  • The battery is dead.
  • You see corrosion.

What causes a snowmobile voltage regulator to go bad?

There are a few causes that might mess up with your voltage regulator, to make it go bad or even go out of business for good; here you have some of the most common reasons for your voltage regulator go bad:

  • Excessive heat.
  • Poor mounting.
  • Overload of electric current.
  • Age of the voltage regulator.
  • Sitting for too long on really low temperatures.
  • Running the engine with the battery disconnected.
  • Forgetting to switch the lights off.
  • An issue with the stator or alternator. 
  • The battery is way too old and needs to be replaced.

Can a bad voltage regulator drain the battery?

A problem with the voltage regulator may cause the battery to deteriorate over time which will cause the battery to drain faster until the point it is completely drained. 

The AC current may potentially leak into the electrical system if a diode fails. When you are not riding your snowmobile, a faulty diode might allow current to drain from the battery via the alternator. And the malfunctioning voltage regulator might also cause charging issues.

How to test a snowmobile voltage regulator?

 On a voltage regulator, the only thing you need to do is run a voltage test with a multimeter. We evaluate the voltage input into the voltage regulator as well as the voltage output of the regulator.

If we read the voltage we feed into the regulator at the input pin and the voltage the regulator is rated for at the output pin, we know the voltage regulator is good. If we do not get the correct values for the voltages, chances are there is a failure on the regulator.

How much will it cost to repair a voltage regulator?

The average cost of replacing a voltage regulator is between $350 and $390. Labor expenses are projected to be between $160 and $200, with components costing $130 up to $220. These amounts do not include any taxes or fees.

Here you have places to buy components for the voltage regulator:

Final thoughts

I think it is safe to say that it will be OK for you to run your snowmobile without the voltage regulator, as long as you disconnect all the systems that the voltage regulator supplies. 

Some state laws require that any type of vehicle has a functioning lightning system, so try just to get your snowmobile a ride back home if the voltage regulator gets broken. 

The replacements are reasonably easy to find over the internet. The prices are not too high, so we recommend taking care of the issue with the voltage regulator as soon as possible.

Sources:

http://snowmobilestator.com/

https://www.snowmobileforum.com/threads/can-i-ride-my-sled-with-no-voltage-regulator.23864/

https://findanyanswer.com/what-can-cause-a-voltage-regulator-to-go-bad

https://learningaboutelectronics.com/Articles/How-to-test-a-voltage-regulator

Ryan Conner

Outdoor enthusiast with several years of snowboarding experience in the winters and watersports activities all summer. Living within 3 hours of 4 well-known ski resorts, I get plenty of board time from Nov-March every season.

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