Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
imported post

:stumped: The voltage (as my digital gage on the bike reads) varies from 10 to 13 volts. Usually when I first start the engine it will go up to 13.2 then after I start riding, it drops to around 12 volts and sometimes 10 but slowly comes back up to around 12 volts. It has been doing this for 4 years. Anyone have any suggestions? I replaced the battery a couple of years ago and it made no difference. Bike runs GREAT, when the lights are turned on it seldom drops below 12 volts. I'm stumped.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,276 Posts
imported post

I would check the 2 year old battery for a dead, or weak cell. If it applies, check the water level. Then I would check the brushes in the alternator.

And, it goes without saying, make sure all of your electrical connections are clean and tight.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,437 Posts
imported post

If your gauge ever drops below 12 volts, your alternator is not charging and you are running off the battery. As the battery discharges say 10 volts, alternator is still off line and not charging.

But, one thing comes to mind. For starting, these GL1500 like a good charge from the battery to crank. If the battery is slightly week, they tend not to get good spark ignition even though the starter is cranking the engine.

So, if your bike has been starting ok, you may want to check your gauge. I would like to think you should always show 13 volts min.
 

·
Token Canuk
Joined
·
8,236 Posts
imported post

I had the same experience this summer & debated getting a Compufire, I finally found one on ebay, ordered it & it arrived 2 days after the old alternator died & 3 days before we were to head to Calhoun. With the high beam on & 2 sets of spotlites the Compufire is running 13.8 - 14 volts.:waving:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
imported post

Thank you for your reply. My bike has 60k miles and it seems several electrical problems are coming forward; ambient temp. readout irratically does not read,neutral light irratically would not come on(in the Honda shop now having neutral switch replaced)they called and recommended a new alternator. I asked them if they have did a thorough testing of the elec. system, seems numerous things are happening and could be related.Thanks again for your commets.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,437 Posts
imported post

96aspencade, weren't you the luck one.

You could not have timed it better than that. Down to the wire and even witnessed its death.

Front Runner, tell the dealer no. Get yourself a Compufire. The dealer will charge you ~$400 - $600 and then add labor cost. The Compufire will be higher amp if accessories is you thing.

Or, if the alternator is bad, take it out and get someone torebuild it. Sounds like you only needthe brushes replaced.

My batteries tend to last a couple of years. I am waiting for this one to fail to give me an excuss to buy an Odysee dry cell.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,847 Posts
imported post

Asuming the guage is accurate you should never really see the battery drop below 12volts. As other stuff is now getting affercted, it looks like the battery is in fact going down below 12volts, it tends to point towards the alternator not charging correctly. You changed the battery 2 years ago and it was still the same so it probably is not the batterty, however you could have now damaged the battery.

Compufire system, everyone i know who has replaced to this system has not regretted it apart from the high cost but its a much better system and the bikes start much better no matter what the temps are
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
571 Posts
imported post

Also, where are you tapping the volt meter? The best place is across the battery. If you go anywhere else or into another circuit it can effect the reading considerably if there is a load on that circuit. To get an accurate reading at idle, I'd use a VOM (volt/olhm meter) meter across the battery terminals.

My 1800 reads about 13.8 at idle and 14.2 or so running at 2500-3000 rpm going down the highway.

Good luck!

Daveo

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
imported post

Just wondering, does the higher output from the compufire put the wiring on a 20 year old bike at risk of buning up? Don't know much about alternators but it seems that the higher output would create more strain on the wiring. Also read that the main fuse needs to be updated to prevent burning out, any comments?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
650 Posts
imported post

My 2 cents:
Have 15+ yr.-old '95 SE. Have Compu-Fire[3 yrs.]. DID double main fuse strips, as instructed.900 CCA pickup truck battery insidecar. NEVER hadany trouble. And my Venco digital voltmetershowssystem voltageat a glance, for peace-of-mind.
RIDE SAFE ALWAYS. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY.....papasmurf
P.S. Remember it even started right upfor me in February, at zero deg. F.
 

·
Token Canuk
Joined
·
8,236 Posts
imported post

My '96 loves the compufire, 2 sets of halogen driving lites - no problem, :action::action:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,824 Posts
imported post

The higher amps of a battery which becomes the source has no effect on any given loads and wire. The load of the circuit depends on the device that actually puts a load on that circuit, so if any loads on the bike stay the same the source just simply feeds that load. You will notice that the battery has no fuse for its biggest load the starter system.

So if you change the load, say your lighting and now the new lighting draws 2x what the original was you must make sure that the wires feeding the load are big enough, the lighting system fuse is big enough, but the battery can remain the same.

Now if you do this to more and more of the smaller systems the battery will soon not be able to handle the loads and the alternator will not keep up with the battery.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,608 Posts
imported post

Mine is a 99, and did the same thing. In the end the rebuilder(Ken Hemmings), found that the windings crimped connections from the Chinese Hitatchi, were loose. This is very common on the units built in China. Also, the constant intermittant crimps were responsible for taking out the voltage regulator. Most if not all your mysteries will be solved once you get the alternator squared away. Good luck with it. Ken is on the web at Motorcycle Alternator Repair Service (MARS), in Merryville Indiana. Only took 200 bucks and 6-7 days to get mine rebuilt with better components, and heavier windings. The unit puts out 50 amps. Not bad for a stock alternator! jimsjinx
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,851 Posts
imported post

Carbon dust build up in the brush holders is all it is. Take the alternator apart and clean it out. Check brushes and bearings. Save yourself $400-$500.
Tom Bishop
`98 S.E.
 

·
Honda Guru
Joined
·
2,053 Posts
imported post

Sounds to me like you might have a 'sticking brushes' problem. You can pull the alternator out, remove the housing and visually check the brushes. If they need to be removed it's not too difficult to unsolder the leads and pull the brushes out. They might be worn or might just be sticking. A little contact cleaner will clean up the brushes and the housing they fit into. With 60k miles it's about time.

The brushes are cheap from Honda... one other thought... when you look at the brushes don't mistake the hole in them as the wear mark. The holes are there to secure the brushes (using a straightened paper clip) during reassembly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
imported post

My concern with doubling the main fuse is that the wires will burn before the double fuse blows, is this correct or am I confused?:?
 

·
Postpubescent member
Joined
·
36,382 Posts
imported post

If the bike is starting and running normally it's most likely a defective meter or bad installation of the meter. If you voltage dropped to 10V it ain't gonna start the bike anyway.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,136 Posts
imported post

I'm always amazed at the number of posts here about alternator/stator/charging problems. These can be difficult to troubleshoot, even for people with a solid knowlege of electricity and all the right tools and test equipment.

What I find curious is that so many riders have voltmeters installed, or at least install one later as an aftermarket. Yet I never see posts about anyone installing an automotive ammeter. How come? The ammeter is far more useful for troubleshooting charging problems than a voltmeter. It will show the net charge going into the battery from the charging system. If the ammeter shows a + indication, then the alternator is working. If it shows -, then it is not working. If the needle is fluctuating rapidly, then the brushes are worn or the alternator is failing. The ammeter will often warn you of impending alternator/stator failure long before the problem will show up on a voltmeter.

An ammeter is around $10 I think. With an ammeter and a voltmeter both installed, you have a powerful combination that will tell you everything you need to know about the health of the charging system.
 

·
Honda Guru
Joined
·
2,053 Posts
imported post

Just like cars used to all have ammeters, oil pressure, voltmeter, temp gauges... I think its a sign of the times. Too Much Information and sooner or later it gets designed out.

I can't think of a motorcycle that has ever had an ammeter stock from the factory. A quick scan for automotive ammeters shows most are 3" diameter (huge in the motorcycle world) and seem to range in the $100+/- range. I saw a few in the $300+ range. Way out of bounds price wise.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,136 Posts
imported post

rayworx wrote:
A quick scan for automotive ammeters shows most are 3" diameter (huge in the motorcycle world) and seem to range in the $100+/- range. I saw a few in the $300+ range. Way out of bounds price wise.
Ouch!!! I don't know where you were getting $100+. I just did a quick look at Harbor freight and they have one for $5.99. It's a standard 2.25 inch diameter.

http://www.harborfreight.com/in-dash-amp-meter-95778.html
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top