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Updated 7-27-2005.

I knew the charging was bad, but I didn't know how bad it was until I rode 60 miles with the headlight on and the fan running. I pulled the headlight fuse, let her cool down, and there was just enough battery left for a leisurely crank and instant start. And I made it home, checking the voltmeter every 15 seconds or so.

I bit the bullet and remeasured the stator resistance; showed 0.6 ohms to ground on all windings! My mechanic ordered an Electro Sport stator for me: $170 delivered. I suppose I shouldbe overjoyed to experience removing the engine myself; the mechanic wanted $650. I think I have removed enough plastic and metal to build a small car, and filled my car and storage areas, but I'm getting close to getting the engine out.

Ifeared working on her with July warm temps of 95-100F with intense sunshine adding 20F. I finally figured out that a Patio Umbrella and Stand from WallyWorld would cost only $30. My friend in the condo complex dropped a cord so I can run my window fan. I wet my evaporative vest in cold water and I can work in reasonable comfort for 3-4 hours.

I won't complain about the bad stator; my trusty 1995 Buick alternator lasted 5 years in Minnesota and then 2 weeks in June here in Albuquerque. A guy who builds and sells car alternators gives a lifetime gurantee; I asked how long they lasted and he said about 2 years.

I have owned 6-8 V twins that never gave any trouble, and 2 V fours that never gave any trouble either. I think sheis punishing me for calling her a painted old ***** who takes my money and time and only hints at what she can do. 2 weeks ago I said Iwished fora Kawasaki Vulcan 800 (I swear I never thought Harley) due to good free warm weather comfort and better service accessibility.

Regards to everyone,

Bob Rust Albuquerque :cool:



I havea 1984 GL1200I purchased last December. The frame has 45,000 miles with a swapped in engine with 82,000 miles. I cleaned all connectors when I had the fairing off. The stator wires have been nicely soldered. I repaired the dreaded main fuse/starter solenoid connections.

I did a capacity test on the battery: I got 18 AH at a 2 A discharge rate. Pretty good.

I tested the charging system with 2 different loads at 0, 950, 3000, and 5000 rpm.

5-28,80F,engine warm,hi beam forload= 10A: Ibat=-10,3,8,6.Ialt=0,13,18,16

5-28,80Fengine warm,brake on load=16A:Ibat=-16,-4.5,5,3.5.Ialt=0,11.5,21,19.5

7-7,95F, engine warm, hi beam for load = 10A:Ibat=-10,-4,4,4.Ialt=0,6,14,14

Iload is the measured total current drain for the bike. Ibat is the measured current into the battery. Ialt is the calculated current output of the alternator/rectifier

Comments: the load current for the hi beam tests at 80F and 95F are equal 10A. The 80F charging is 8A but the 95F charging is only 4A at 3000 rpm. 80F alternator current is 18A but the 95F alternator current is only 14A.

Causes: I've read about the crappy wiring and poor connections. I ordered an EC harness because it looked high quality. It has to be hellish under the false tank and above the engine; I'd guess it is considerably above 125C.I was an electronic design engineer for 30 years, so I know electronic parts are not rugged.The rectifier / regulator module has power dissipation to further raise junction temperature. Diode leakage current increases with temperature.Commercial grade parts are only rated for 0-70C. Automotive grade is -35 to 125C, to my less than perfect recall.

I appreciate any comments or wisdom and experience.

Bob Rust Albuquerque, NM :cool:
 

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rustybob11 wrote:
I havea 1984 GL1200I purchased last December. The frame has 45,000 miles with a swapped in engine with 82,000 miles. I cleaned all connectors when I had the fairing off. The stator wires have been nicely soldered. I repaired the dreaded main fuse/starter solenoid connections.

I did a capacity test on the battery: I got 18 AH at a 2 A discharge rate. Pretty good.

I tested the charging system with 2 different loads at 0, 950, 3000, and 5000 rpm. 5-28-05,80F,engine warm,hi beam forload= 10A: Ibat=-10,3,8,6.Ialt=0,13,18,16 5-28-05,80Fengine warm,brake on load=16A:Ibat=-16,-4.5,5,3.5.Ialt=0,11.5,21,19.5 7-7-05,95F, engine warm, hi beam for load = 10A:Ibat=-10,-4,4,4.Ialt=0,6,14,14

Iload is the measured total current drain for the bike. Ibat is the measured current into the battery. Ialt is the calculated current output of the alternator/rectifier

Comments: the load current for the hi beam tests at 80F and 95F are equal 10A. The 80F charging is 8A but the 95F charging is only 4A at 3000 rpm. 80F alternator current is 18A but the 95F alternator current is only 14A.

Causes: I've read about the crappy wiring and poor connections. I ordered an EC harness because it looked high quality. It has to be hellish under the false tank and above the engine; I'd guess it is considerably above 125C.I was an electronic design engineer for 30 years, so I know electronic parts are not rugged.The rectifier / regulator module has power dissipation to further raise junction temperature. Diode leakage current increases with temperature.Commercial grade parts are only rated for 0-70C. Automotive grade is -35 to 125C, to my less than perfect recall.

I appreciate any comments or wisdom and experience.

Bob Rust Albuquerque, NM :cool:
Bob, your post looks like it didn't copy out into the format here very good.

If I'm understanding you correctly you you are basing your test amperage on what's entering the battery? This was done at different RPM's &ambient temperatures?

To get a valid test you need to remove the battery from the system & install a fixed load in place of the battery (battery'saccept then charge different at different temps).

Are you also accounting for the cooling fan running? If not that thing will run more often (or all the time) at higher ambient temps while sitting still.

I'm sure that crude type regulator is also acting different at raised ambient due to to it's design of dumping excess current to ground to control system voltage.

What areyour concerns with your present system operation?

You have my interest up now.. Can you re-run the test into a fixed load instead of a battery? Then re-run an identical test after that EC harness is installed? I would like see if there is a big difference.

Twisty
 

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Bob, Twisty,
Since installing a voltmeter on my '85 1200A, I have noticed about the same.
I have not done any "testing". I have noticed the idle voltage is a volt or more higher when the system is cool. After the engine is warmed up good, it doesn't get above 13V at idle (1000-1050 rpm) with the brake lights on.
All wiring from the stator to the terminal on the starter relay has had the connectors removed and soldered. (I need to get a new fuse holder to finish the job.)
 

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johnmac wrote:
Bob, Twisty,
Since installing a voltmeter on my '85 1200A, I have noticed about the same.
I have not done any "testing". I have noticed the idle voltage is a volt or more higher when the system is cool. After the engine is warmed up good, it doesn't get above 13V at idle (1000-1050 rpm) with the brake lights on.
All wiring from the stator to the terminal on the starter relay has had the connectors removed and soldered. (I need to get a new fuse holder to finish the job.)
johnmac, that seems to be characteristic of the older Wings. The idle speed is so critical as far as output is concerned with just a few RPM's making a difference.

There is also the fact that the cooling fan runs more at warm engine conditions therefore dropping idle voltage.

Twisty
 

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Twisty,
I just thought it had something to do with the solid state regulator getting hot, and the electronics used at that time.
I had a trail bike once that used the battery as the regulator. The extra voltage would make the battery boil dry, then all lights would burn out!
Ah, the good old days.
 

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rustybob11,

I had similar concerns with my 83 GL1100. The bikes meternever showed a charge while idling but always came up while riding. Just going by the volt gauge on the instrument panel the bike seemed to maintain a good charge while riding when the temps where cool (less than 85). However when the temps started to climb I noticed the volt meter was sluggish to show a charge. While in town if I hit the lights just wrong, (hit them all red) the gauge wouldshow about a 10 voltcharge. If I could catch a couple of green lights in a row,the meter would slowly start to show a charge. I had already hard wired my stator and put in a new harness so I was concerned my stator was on the way out or the rectifier was failing.

Following advice from members here (exavid & goldwinger1984 as well as others) Iattached some meter leads directly to my battery and taped a DMM tothe false tank so I could monitor my voltage while going down the road. Afterwatching the meter for a few days I decided that the charging capability does fall off as the temps increase but not as badly as the instrument volt meter indicates. The instrument gauge would be showing 10V but the DMM would be showing in excess of 12V. The DMM would show a charge long before the instrument gauge. My fan comes on at almost every stop light this time of year and it takes a while for the battery and charging system to recover from idling. Most of my travel is at 60-75mph to and from work. The gauge always shows a charge when on the highway, even at 115f+. The only problem is in town.

I think the rectifier is heating up while sitting at stop lights reducing the efficiency/output. If I can get up a little speed and get a little air flow over the rectifier it cools down and starts working better. It could also be the windings in the stator getting heat soaked, but I don't think so. As a radar technician I have seen similar problems with our radars. Electrical components break down when they get hot. We even had to install an air conditioning unit on one of them.

To help reduce the electrical load, I re-wired some running lights that the previous owner had wired to come on whenever the key was on, to a toggle switch I can turn on and off. I also cleaned up some old wiring that may have been causing problems. I'm still toying with the idea of putting in a switch to disable my headlight while riding in town, but don't really want to do that. Motorcycles are hard enough to see!Fortunately there are only a couple of hills in town where I need to keep the brakes applied. I try not to use the brake lights any more than I have to so I don't run the battery down. Although, when the Snowbirds start arriving I want to put a couple of those 2,000,000 candle watt spot lights on, facing reward with red lenses and tie them into the brake switch!

If you want to look for it, there was a pretty long thread about what I did back in April I think.

Bob :11grey:
 

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A couple of thoughts. I don't think switching off the headlight would be a viable way to reduce electrical load in the heat Bob. Most states require the headlights to be on whenever the bike is in use.

As for the reduction of efficiency of the bike's electrical system in heat, if it keeps the battery charged enough to start the bike and run it's systems, why worry about it? Too much engineering and not enough riding!
 

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johnmac wrote:
Twisty,
I just thought it had something to do with the solid state regulator getting hot, and the electronics used at that time.
I had a trail bike once that used the battery as the regulator. The extra voltage would make the battery boil dry, then all lights would burn out!
Ah, the good old days.
johnmac, there is probably some truth to that as most electronic or electrical components do increase their resistance as they get hotter.

The way those older Wing charging systems operate is:they put out full output ALL the time & the regulator takes the excess to ground to control voltage. At idle the charging system can't make enough output to keep up so the regulator really isn't regulating anything at idle. It still has to be rectified so there could be some loss in the rectifier diodes.

The best thing you can do for idle output on those older Wings is to increase the base idle speed to the max side of the spec. Even 50 more RPM's can make a noticeable difference.

Twisty
 

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exavid wrote:
A couple of thoughts. I don't think switching off the headlight would be a viable way to reduce electrical load in the heat Bob. Most states require the headlights to be on whenever the bike is in use.

As for the reduction of efficiency of the bike's electrical system in heat, if it keeps the battery charged enough to start the bike and run it's systems, why worry about it? Too much engineering and not enough riding!

In AZ it is legal to run without the headlight, or helmet for that matter. I use both! Disabling the headlight is just a thought I had but don't think I'll act on. I don't think it would gain me that much either. In fact I always use highbeam during the day until I get into town.

As for your second thought, I agree and that is the attitude I have taken. I have never had an instance of a weak battery and decided that I was worrying to much earlier this year when I made the voltage checks. Thanks to your (and others) help I came to understand thatmy charging systemreally doesn't have a problem and I was trying to make one! I ride approx. 65 miles a day going to and coming from work. 55 of those miles are at 60-75 mph. so I don't have any problem keeping the battery charged! :clapper:

Bob :11grey:
 

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Thanks, people

My testing used the battery and the bike current load to measure current into/out of the battery. I calculated alternator current as the sum of the battery current and bike current.

The voltmeter behavior around town and hot was disturbing: 10V with fan and lo beam on. Current loadsI measured are: Low beam= 9 Amps, Fan=5+ Amps, Brake= 6.8 Amps. At 95F, with the fanon and low beam,I need 3,000rpm to produce 14 Amps alternator current to break even and not discharge the battery.

At 80F with the brake on and high beam, I had a 16+Amps current load and I got 4+Amps battery charging: 20+ A from the alternator at 3000 rpm. The 80F numbers meet spec.

The voltmeter isn't connected to show battery voltage. If the battery is fully charged mine reads 0.5 V less than battery voltage, which is fine. When idling with low beam and fan running I see the voltmeter reading 2 V less than the battery voltage, which doesn't give confidence in the charging system. It is sensitiveto both battery voltage and current; maybe that is intentional.

Thanks for the comments. I intend to check the rectifier/regulator module at temperature. When I feel up to an extended session at 95+F.

Regards, Bob Rust Albuquerque, NM (Moderate temps 15F cooler than Phoenix):cool:
 

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If I monitor battery voltage and current, and measure bike load current, I can get "accurate" results by calculating alternator current as the sum of battery current and load current. "Accurate" means being within 10%, or adequate for Government work.

Thanks, Bob Rust Albuquerque, NM :cool:

95F in the shade is cool; but deserts have no shade. Intense sunmakes itlike 115F.
 

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Rustybob,

I have an 84 GL1200, that i installed a Kuryakn LED voltmeter on. Not the most accurate, but it seems pretty good. In fact, i have put them on the last 5 bikes I have owned (one dead charging system convinced me). My 1200 always stays between 12.5-14.5 while driving, even when very hot. At rest on a very hot day with the lights on and fan going it can drop to 11.5. I have noticed on hot days even with the fan off, it charges a little less.

I saw a few postings that as long as the battery can start the bike, you would rather be riding than trying to fix it, or something like that. I can say from previous experience and much research that it is not always the best decision. If the battery is low, then the stator must charge it. If the stator is trying to charge a battery, run lights and coils, and let's say a fan, the stator could overheat. I have seen stators that have melted their varnish and shorted out, not a pretty sight. If my battery was less than 12 volts, i would charge it first, before riding. And if my charging system didn't read at least 12.5 with the lights on, i wouldn't ride far from home. And as a side note, constantly charging and discharging the battery kills it quick.

Some older Jap bikes were known for not charging properly and you new you had to keep it on a trickle charger.
 

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Bob,

I'm not a expert on Goldwing charging systems, but I have spent a considerable amount of time repairing automotive and heavy equipment alternators.

Generally in those types of systemsa internally regulated alternator's voltageregulator is temperature compensating.

As the temperature increases the regulated voltage decreases to avoid battery boil over and as the temperature decreases the regulatedvoltage increases (with in certain limits of course)to compensate for the lower efficency of the battery at colder temperatures.

Somewhere I've got a temp/voltage relationship chart for voltage regulators...I'll have to see if I can find it and post it if possible.

Hope this info helps!:)

Doc Egor
 

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Davebave wrote:
If the battery is low, then the stator must charge it. If the stator is trying to charge a battery, run lights and coils, and let's say a fan, the stator could overheat.
Davebave, system load really doesn't effect stator life on the older Wings. If you look at how the alternator is set up on the older Wing you will see it uses a permanent magnet alternator rotor.. What that basically means is there is no real way to control alternator output (except for RPM).

How that system operates is the alternator ALWAYS puts out the max that's possible for the engine RPM, thenthe regulator either lets what is furnished go through to the electrical system & battrey or shorts the extra output to ground through resistors. Whetherthereis a full load on the charging system or a light load the draw on the stator is always about the same. Not the most modern of systems but it seems to function OK if all the connections are kept clean & the oil is kept changed..

Twisty
 
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