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Charging System
The original 1200 stator / Reg/ rect circuits is a very strong system... and well worth fixing .
#1 12-07-2006, 07:43 PM,
I fully understand what you're saying Silver Dave but if your alternator broke in a lonely remote area and you had to make a choice about which alternator you would want to fix under those circumstances which one would you want to have one your 1200?

The stock Honda altenator requires complete engine removal to fix 8 hours work or Poorboy's which you could fix and be back on the road in mere minutes.

To me Poorboy's makes the most sense for everyday driving but the stock Honda unit is great for a show bike IMHO.

Did you know that Poorboy's system can actually give you up to 105 amps of power depending on which alternator you choose. That's about 3 times the power of the stock alternator. So that means you could bring a microwave oven and a coffee maker in a trailer and cook a meal using an invertor to power them all, one at a time, and not worry about killing your bike's battery.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of

#2 12-08-2006, 12:00 PM,
There is no doubt that an external alternator is easier to fix ... but if you are far enough in the wilds.. all repairs are difficult. ... My vote is for something that will be as bulletproof as the bike itself... and the stock OEM stator, cleaned, and checked is indeed just that .

My "Show Bike", as you called it ... (that was a dig, wasn't it ?? I did pick that up ) ... slogged thru 11,000 km of Yukon/Alaska wilderness with a repaired/cleaned/ greased stator, with no problems... and in lots of those places you would have had trouble repairing even a flat.. Teslin, for example is 250 km away from everything. ... and Carcross has very little in the way of any repair facilities.

And if I wanted to take a microwave, and coffee maker.. I would buy a Winnebago... One of the real joys of adventuring with a bike is the minimalist attitude that goes with it ....

But wait... YOU, Mr. Admin do have a Poorboy system ... I assume you don't go anywhere without your Coffee maker, and toaster ? LOL LOL

Giggle, snicker ... .

Meet me in Fort St John... bring your coffee maker... and toaster....and microwave, if you must ..... and We will show you why , out here in the west , we revel in driving our "Interstates" . We know why the name was chosen . Real Wingers often do 200km before breakfast , and 400 after supper . On those sorts of "Iron Butt" voyages, someone else (the local trucker restaurant ) makes my coffee, and eggs.':lol:'

Hee Hee...
#3 12-08-2006, 02:46 PM,
If you're buying then I'm with you SilverDave. LOL

Truth be known, I do have a conversion alternator on my 84 1200 but it's not the Poorboy kit, it's one I put together myself which is similar to the Poorboy setup.

I'm a real DYI kind of biker and the simple fact that I can remove the alternator and replace the brushes and voltage regulator on the side of the road for about $20. is very exciting to me as opposed to taking my bike to a repair shop I don't know and possibly waiting up to 2 or 3 weeks until they could get my bike in to replace the stock Honda alternator. For some reason some shops won't even work on Classic Wings so in that case I'd need to ship my bike home if necessary.

What I meant by show bike is a classic Wing that has been restored to showroon condition for show display. Usually this kind of bike is trailered under cover and only started and run from the trailer to the show ramp and back again. In that case the conversion alternator would be a drawback rather than a benefit.

In your specific case you would benefit greatly from the conversion alternator because you could have the peace of mind of having two charging systems independent of each that you could rely on if one or the other failed. Plus you could also run numerous lights, heated riding clothes and other high demand electrical devices that the stock charging system just can't handle effectively because it was originally built to provide adequate amps for the stock system only.

P.S. I do have a trailer and I have a hitch for my 1200 but they haven't touched one another in a year and my hitch is actually in my garage on a shelf because I like to pack light when riding and I easpecially like to make my bike handle and accelerate and the trailer complicates that fun a little.

So, I guess this means eggs and coffee for both of us in a truck stop since neither of us will be bringing the coffee maker and the microwave.

My only wish is that I had the beautiful landscape to ride on like you do.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of

#4 12-08-2006, 04:17 PM,
My question is, if the internal alternator is perfect, why would Honda then change to the external alternator on the later wings?

It is definitely a flawed piece of engineering, maybe they didn't plan to have their Goldwings last over 70,000k (the average life of the internal alternator)

Also if it requires checking and cleaning on a regular basis, who for hecks sake placed it in such a ridiculous position so as to necessitate the removal of the engine?

[Image: 2001_Alternator_100p.JPG]

nice one eh? Smile
#5 12-10-2006, 03:12 PM,
I fully agree with you on this Tricky.

In theory the GL1200 alternator is a well engineered solid system that should last the life of the bike. No brushes to wear out, no dirt attacking the unit because it is sealed away inside a clean engine and it never needs a belt adjustment or replacement.

In reality the alternator fails because the white connector next to the battery overheats which causes the spring tension on the spade connectors to weaken which then causes arcing and power surges that the stator tries to keep up with but it can't so it overcharges then the stator windings burn the insulation off the windings causing it to fail completely.

The other scenario occurs when acids form on the stator either through overdue oil changes or the vent becomes plugged and the stator housing accumulates moisture which turns to acid by mixing with the crankcase gases. The acid then destroys the insulation on the windings and the stator fails.

Having a voltage regulator go bad can also cause the stator to go bad because it simply causes the stator to melt down due to heat caused by the stator trying to produce more than it was designed to handle.

The cost of the stock Honda voltage regulator, stator and battery are considerable but when you add in 8 hours shop labor at $50 - $90 per hour plus ancillary items like gaskets, oil and filter plus any other items that may be damaged during the R+R of the engine it can sometimes turn into a $1500 nightmare for the guy who knows nothing about doing the alternator himself.

For about $200. a guy can install a conversion alternator and be back on the road the same day and if the conversion breaks in a year from now the darn thing can be rebuilt for about $20.

Seems like good economy to me and it just might add to the resale value of the bike.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of

#6 12-10-2006, 06:42 PM,
In answer to your question Tricky,I would assume the external alt. was a trial and error with Mother Honda herself.After having the internal one for many years I'm sure they ran into problems just like we classic owners are having now and seeing the cost and down time incurred Honda decided they would try to make an external alt. WORK if for no other reason than to make it easier and more cost efficient for the owners and I'd like to hope they would want those newer bikes back on the road faster.Plus I would have to assume that as with everything else time does give way to progress and Honda certainly has made leaps and bounds from my very first GoldWing,the precious GL1000..up to my now more precious GL1200 SEi...I'm not certain about the cost difference between the stator on the 1200's and the alts. on the 1500's but the labor alone would make that change necessary to keep them selling...
Now as to the reason for the PoorBoy conversion..I agree with many others here that having the option of TWO charging systems makes all the difference in the world..If you are lucky enough to have a GOOD stator and regulator the I would certainly disconnect those and install the kit from Don simply because it is such a simplier system to repair and because of the difference in power it gives you to operate "safety" options.There is a way to increase the charge rate at idle which seems to be a very SMALL draw back to Don's original kit but, that pully change is nothing major at all and will give more charging at low speeds if you drive like I do ..mostly around town...
I am not lucky enough to have the good stator anymore as mine went south a few months ago so what riding I have done has been less than 50 miles at a time..what ever charge the battery has on it to get me home safely..I do hope to install the kit from Don sometime next winter..I hate that it's taking me that long to save the money for the kit and for the alt. but be that as it may I KNOW it will ALL be well WORTH it when I finally get it on and have the peace of mind to know I can hop on and ride as far as my mind and my arse can stand...
So I concur with others here..while you have the good stator and regulator..SAVE them..install Don's kit or one simliar to it that will save your current charging system for that emergency that we ALL hope never happens to you...I assure you it will be time and money well spent...
#7 12-11-2006, 09:34 AM,
Tricky: I don't think anyone ever said the stock alternator was perfect. Silver Dave is trying to convince people it is a better choice than Poorboy. I personally cannot agree with that, having used both systems. I installed the Poorboy with a 55amp Nippondenso about six months ago and I could not be happier. My coils are receiving 14.7 volts with everything on. I could never accomplish this with the stock system. Does it run better with 14.7 volts going into the coils as opposed to the stock system 13.4 volts? You bet. More complete combustion means better mileage also.

In short, IMHO the stock 1200 charging system is margional at best, even when working properly. If I ever get ready to sell my 1200 the new owner will appreciate the reliability that I have built into the charging system and pay me for it. If he doesn't like that, then he can go down the road and buy a "stock" 1200 complete with anemic charging system.

Ride safe

#8 12-24-2006, 10:32 AM,
From my point of view Honda's intentions with the GL1200 alternator were sound and top notch in theory, but in practice we've all seen what happens.

Originally it was designed to be out of the breeze where it could catch dirt in the air and there are no brushes to wear out in the stock unit which is a big plus and it ran at peak efficiency constantly. Nice system BUT.

They forgot to consider the insulation on the stator being attacked by heavy duty chemicals in the oil and moisture.

I suppose that if a guy always changed his oil on time and he always got the engine up to full temperature to burn off harmful vapors and that all connections never oxidized and that all regulators never malfunctioned that the stock Honda alternator would be a great unit.

For now I'm sticking with my conversion alternator because it works great and if it does break, I can have it off, torn down and rebuilt and back on in less than half an hour. I like that feature very much.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of

#9 12-24-2006, 11:21 AM,
Ok, I seem to be in a class of my own on this one. Unlike most of you I have been out in the middle of no where (so to speak) when the charging system failed on me. At the time I was about 1000 miles away from home in Oklahoma. Where I broke down there was no parts dealers for motorcycles. I didn't have ANY tool (not even a leatherman not to mention the stock tool kit) and no way to diagnose the problem, not to mention fixing it. I got lucky and was able to get into a town that had a Honda dealer, but they would not work on my wing. What ended up was the wing was trailered home :cry:.

If my wing had a poorboy alternator I could have gotten a new alternator and put it on in Oklahoma.

Being broken down on the side of the road sucks. When you are that far away from help a large desperation sets in, and then when you can't get any help locally that you desperately require you get pretty depressed about it. The goldwing is a fantastic machine, but the design of the charging system was a huge failing on the part of Honda, culminating with the 1200's.

Now here is the part I'm having a hard time with. I've not seen any good writeup's on putting the poorboy in the LTD/SEi, and my stator is good (for the moment). This makes the idea of cutting into my bike hard to take.

In the end the if the stock charging goes out you are left only with desperation/hopelessness as there is no side of the road fixing it. Not quite as bad as the engine killing itself, but about the same. If the poorboy dies then you still have some threads of hope to grasp at. Don't knock having an option that leaves you some hope, because on my trip I was left with none.
#10 12-24-2006, 12:02 PM,
So, assuming I wanted to install a poorboy this summer, even though my current stock charging system seems to be functioning fine, how does one make it so you can use the stock one in the case of a back-up? This sounds like a really good idea to me.
#11 12-31-2006, 08:24 AM,
You would simply disconnect the 3 yellow wires coming from the stator while using the conversion alternator then reconnect them when you want to use the stock charging system again.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of

#12 12-31-2006, 08:51 AM,
admin Wrote:You would simply disconnect the 3 yellow wires coming from the stator while using the conversion alternator then reconnect them when you want to use the stock charging system again.

Okay, with that in mind, would one want to work out a flip switch or something when he removes the white connector in front of the battery. In otherwords, instead of removing the white connector, replace it with some type of electrical unit that one could switch between the stator and the poorboy?

Or, perhaps replace the white connector with a flat 4 prong trailer plug, and then he can simply unplug one and plug in the other when needed?
#13 12-31-2006, 09:40 AM,

You are on the wrong track. The one wire coming out of the Poorboy Alternator is DC.

The three wire connector in your battery box is AC voltage headed to the Rectifier/Regulator.

Ride Safe....

#14 12-31-2006, 09:46 PM,
I have to agree with Bill that it would be a complicated affair to literally switch back and forth although it could be done but you would need a big ugly custom built switch to do it.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of

#15 12-31-2006, 10:37 PM,

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