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charging system output?
mark in mesa here. 1986 Interstate, 46,000 miles, all stock and all original. dvm shows
about 14.4vdc at idle and about 14.8 when rev'd. does this indicate a problem with the
voltage regulator? is the system overcharging? (stator is also original and the wiring plug
mod has been done). thanks for any info.
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#1 11-01-2009, 07:12 AM,
Seems like a darn good charging system to me. Go, enjoy the road and when the charging finally quits install an external alternator for function and peace of mind.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of gl1200goldwings.com

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#2 11-01-2009, 07:48 AM,
admin Wrote:Seems like a darn good charging system to me. Go, enjoy the road and when the charging finally quits install an external alternator for function and peace of mind.

It certainly does. I've never seen a 1200 that could deliver 14.4 at idle with a stock stator. 14.8 is a little high, but not "way too high". Unless you live in a hot area of the country like, say, Arizona. :lol:
Double check it with someone else's meter. Then report back.
Out of curiosity, what is your idle speed?
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#3 11-01-2009, 08:07 AM,
mark in mesa again. thanks for all the feedback. i checked my system with my other
dvm and got similar results. idle speed at about 1000-1100, 14.4vdc at idle and
about 14.8 when rev'd. when i just started the bike again and it was "cold"
and idling at about 800 or so the system registered about 13.5vdc until i rev'd
it up a bit. sound ok to you guys? btw, how will the way too hot temps here in arizona
adversely effect my bike's chg system? seemed ok all this past summer.
thanks again for the help
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#4 11-01-2009, 01:40 PM,
you're the envy of alot of people,if you're the original owner that's even better

if the voltage keeps creeping up though, it would probably suggest that the black sensing wire off the regulator is sensing slightly lower than battery voltage and "driving" the reg to put out higher voltage,and if that would happen u just have to run the sensing wire thru a relay so that with key on u sense the voltage from the battery directly

hopefully your stator will have a long life but if not the "poorboy" upgrade is simple and the only way to go
1987 Aspencade 129K
1986 SEI 93K
2014 Tri-Glide HD 17K

Hancock,MD
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#5 11-01-2009, 02:29 PM,
glhonda Wrote:
admin Wrote:Seems like a darn good charging system to me. Go, enjoy the road and when the charging finally quits install an external alternator for function and peace of mind.

It certainly does. I've never seen a 1200 that could deliver 14.4 at idle with a stock stator. 14.8 is a little high, but not "way too high". Unless you live in a hot area of the country like, say, Arizona. :lol:
Double check it with someone else's meter. Then report back.
Out of curiosity, what is your idle speed?

The problem with measuring voltage is that if the battery is in excellent condition the measured voltage will appear to be high but if hi- beam, cooling fan and driving lights are all on for an extended period then measured voltage will fall dramatically to reflect the momentary drain to the battery and it will come back up as the battery is recharged.

If the voltage is high for an extended period it will boil the water out of the battery so make sure you keep an eye on the H2O in the battery.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of gl1200goldwings.com

Reply
#6 11-01-2009, 02:53 PM,
admin Wrote:The problem with measuring voltage is that if the battery is in excellent condition the measured voltage will appear to be high but if hi- beam, cooling fan and driving lights are all on for an extended period then measured voltage will fall dramatically to reflect the momentary drain to the battery and it will come back up as the battery is recharged.

If the voltage is high for an extended period it will boil the water out of the battery so make sure you keep an eye on the H2O in the battery.
Sorry to disagree Vic but there are only two circumstances where the battery discharges, the first obviously is when your starting and the second is at idle and when your load is greater than the alternator output.

Mark said that the idle voltage was 14.4 so that suggests that the alternator is keeping up with the load and has enough left over to charge the battery.

The other question Mark had was " How will the way too hot temps here in Arizona adversely effect my bike's charging system".
Well Mike it's simple thermal dynamics and has nothing to do with your charging system, the hotter the water in your battery gets the faster it evaporates.

Ken
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#7 11-01-2009, 04:24 PM,
i have an AGM (absorbed glass mat) battery in my bike. no possible loss of water/acid.
Reply
#8 11-01-2009, 04:39 PM,
K Bergen Wrote:Sorry to disagree Vic but there are only two circumstances where the battery discharges, the first obviously is when your starting and the second is at idle and when your load is greater than the alternator output.
Mark said that the idle voltage was 14.4 so that suggests that the alternator is keeping up with the load and has enough left over to charge the battery.
The other question Mark had was " How will the way too hot temps here in Arizona adversely effect my bike's charging system".
Well Mike it's simple thermal dynamics and has nothing to do with your charging system, the hotter the water in your battery gets the faster it evaporates.
Ken

Vic makes a valid point, Ken. A strong battery will take more time to "stabilize" voltage at idle. It really depends on when the idle voltage is taken. I think the best test of charging system output is to allow the bike to idle, have the cooling cycle on and off and see what the voltage climbs back to. That would remove the "surface charge" and give a better indication. My bike never charges over 14.4 at 3,000rpm, so 14.4 would be an impossibility at idle.

As far as temperature is concerned, it was the fact that in warmer climates, as you stated, the water in the battery would stand a greater chance of evaporation. The last thing you'd want is a charging system that is overcharging. Also, don't forget how hot the regulator already gets in "normal" climates. An over taxed regulator is doomed to failure. As far as electronic components are concerned, the cooler the better.
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#9 11-01-2009, 04:51 PM,
K Bergen Wrote:Sorry to disagree Vic but there are only two circumstances where the battery discharges, the first obviously is when your starting and the second is at idle and when your load is greater than the alternator output.
How about when the brakes are applied? My lights dim considerably when I do this.


K Bergen Wrote:Well Mike it's simple thermal dynamics and has nothing to do with your charging system, the hotter the water in your battery gets the faster it evaporates.
Take a temperature reading from the inside of the false tank on a hot day and you might change your mind about this. Not the best place to mount the VR.
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#10 11-01-2009, 05:23 PM,
kwatts Wrote:How about when the brakes are applied? My lights dim considerably when I do this.
I'm afraid that falls into the very specific "when your load is greater than the alternator output" catagory.
Hey wait! I thought you went with an external alternator Kevin :YMSIGH:
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#11 11-01-2009, 05:32 PM,
glhonda Wrote:
kwatts Wrote:How about when the brakes are applied? My lights dim considerably when I do this.
I'm afraid that falls into the very specific "when your load is greater than the alternator output" catagory.
Hey wait! I thought you went with an external alternator Kevin :YMSIGH:

But he said "and the second is at idle and when your load is greater than the alternator output". At night I can see my lights dim as I am braking, the external alternator senses this and brings them back up to full brightness almost instantly, but it is still noticeable. I guess I shouldn't have used the word considerably. :oops:
Reply
#12 11-01-2009, 05:46 PM,
I just did a quick test.
I started my bike and at 500rpm with no choke battery voltage was 13.5, at 1000rpm it was 14.8, at 3000rpm it was still 14.8.
So it looks like the alternator can keep up under stock loads.
If one adds extra lights that's another story.

Ken
Reply
#13 11-01-2009, 05:47 PM,
I think the best test of charging system output is to allow the bike to idle, have the cooling fan cycle on and off and see what the voltage climbs back to. :d
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#14 11-01-2009, 06:00 PM,
Being concerned about the amount of heat created and the lack of cooling that the regulator might get a lower speeds, I added extra cooling capacity to my regulator/rectifier.

I mounted a thin fin Pentium CPU heat sink which is about 2" x 2" x2" in size onto a piece of 1/8" thick aluminum plate the same width as the regulator housing. The plate is long enough for the heat sink to be behind the regulator housing.

This heat sink would be the kind that would be mounted on the processor without an extra fan. To aid in heat conduction I use heat sink grease between the plate and the regulator housing and the plate and the CPU heat sink.

Did it help much? Without some temperature sampling under different conditions, I don't really know. Howerver, the heat sink does get warm and this means that it is pulling heat away from the regulator/rectifier housing.
Reply
#15 11-02-2009, 02:59 PM,


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