Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Ignition Problem


QUESTION: Hi Eric!  I have a 1983 cub cadet 680 hydro with an electrical problem.  I replaced the old ignition switch with a different one, and hooked it up.  The motor turned over and the lights worked, but there was no spark. So, I changed the single terminal connector plug into five individual plugs, to make the letters match, but that didn't work.  I then got the correct switch for the machine, hooked up the wires correctly, and it still won't turn over.   When I bypass the new starter-solenoid, the engine cranks over, but it won't turn over with the key.  When I hook the positive cable from the battery to the small bolt in between the two solenoid posts, I get power at the switch, but when I put it back on the solenoid post, no power is at the switch. What do you think the problem is?
Thank you for your help,

ANSWER: Is the fuse blown?  Do you have a volt meter, your old switch, and a wiring diagram of how the orginal switch was wired?

Is this the service manual for your mower?

Good CC link:


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks.  The links you provided did not appear to match my machine; however, I was able to find that the Cub cadet 1210 was a similar machine, according to a post on the forum.  I can't find any fuse between the solenoid and the switch.  But, there is a fuse for the pto and lights, and both of those are significantly larger than what's required in the owner's manual.  When I bypass the solenoid, the engine cranks over, but doesn't fire.  Unfortunately, I do not know the original positions of the wires, however, the old terminal plug still has some of the wires' ends in it.  I connected the wires to the switch so they matched the colors on the old plug, but nothing happens.  The new switch I got exactly matches the old one, and I do have a volt meter.  Is there a way I can test the system?
Thank you very much, as I am not familiar with machine-wiring,

The wiring of the switch varies greatly among various tractors, makes, and models. There are also many many different switches, although most LOOK the same.

In general, most switches have letters on or near the base of each terminal.
B stands for battery positive
M stands for the kill wire (magneto)...this is most likely why you do not have spark but there maybe a safety switch causing the actual problem.
L stands for lights
S stands for solenoid
G stands for ground

Video on how to test the key switch:

You will need to identify the wires.  The multimeter works best to determine the wiring.  You can connect the meter to the small solenoid wire and then check for continunity at the key switch end.  You should find a wire with continunity.  Label it S.  Do this for each wire and then verify, the best you can the wire colors match on both ends of each wire.  Some may not match if they a safety switch is in the circuit.  As for the G terminal, just ground the black meter lead and check which wire at the key switch is has continunity.  

Let me know if this helps.

Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)

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Eric A. Jones


Lawnmower Repair . Certified Master Service Technician from B&S. Have 23 years experience on B&S, Lawn Chief, Weed Eater, Echo, Peerless, Wheel Horse, Snapper, Atlas, MTD, McCulloch, Homelite and many other numerous brands. Specialize in electrical repair.


Born and raised in the midwest. Started tinkering with engines when I was about 14 on my Suzuki RM-80. I began lawn mower repair at a small hardware store. I knew absolutely nothing. I read lots of repair manuals and met an older fellow who taught me many lessons. I continued working on small engines through high school and paid my way through college working on mowers at the same hardware store. Decided to get away from the midwest and mower repair so I joined the Air Force. I repaired air traffic control electronic equipment and ended up in Hawaii where I got a part time job at Small Engine Clinic. I gained a lot of experience from the Small Engine Clinic and had a blast repairing small engines. I then took the Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician test and earned my MST. I then traveled to Wisconsin where I attended the factory update training seminar and received formal training. Continued working on mowers part time as I completed 20 years of military. Retired from the military on a Friday and continued in the lawn and garden industry the next Monday.

MAS Aerospace Operations BA Mathematics AAS Electronic Communications AAS Electronic Technology

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