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Since I working on getting the carb situation resolved on my old 84 GL1200A, here is another question. The voltage reg/rectifier gets pretty warm. I know this because I have the plastic off the bike and have been riding it trying to get the carb situation resolved before I put all the stuff back on. Yesterday I was riding in shorts and my left knee rubbed against the back of the regulator and boy was it hot. Is this normal for a wing? I had the engine out to install a new stator and also got a new battery. The alt output is 30v AC at 2k rpms and the voltage at the batter runs 12.8 to 13.2 at idle. Perhaps this is normal as who rides around in shorts with all the plastic parts removed. A naked goldwing. Just wondering
 

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They get hot, hot enough to roast skin.
 

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Yep sounds normal to me...:cool:
 

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Thanks for the heads up. Smokin hot for sure. I removed the unit and cleaned up the contact areas on the pathetic little
mounting bracket hoping for a better heat sink. I wonder if Honda ever dealt with this issue on the later bikes?
It's on my to do list.
Thanks
 

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Burning the inside of your thigh on the hot regulator is nothing compared to getting a yellow jacket up your shorts.

Either way you will be 'Hopping' around for a while!
 

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unionjk wrote:
Burning the inside of your thigh on the hot regulator is nothing compared to getting a yellow jacket up your shorts.

Either way you will be 'Hopping' around for a while!
:ROFL::ROFL::shock:
 

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I don't ride in shorts, would get a whopper of a sunburn here in the summer, and would be too cold in the winter. Apparently some regulators get hotter than others. The one on my '85 LTD has exceeded 300 degrees, hot enough to melt the insulation off any wire that touches it, and enough to cause an instant burn if you touch it. The cause of this heat is obvious if you do a little research on the Goldwing's electrical system. Unlike cars, where alternator output is controlled by the load placed on it, the Goldwing alternator runs wide open all the time, controlled only by engine rpm (it puts out less power at lower rpm). All of the current from the alternator that is not used by the bikes electrical system is directly shorted to ground, through some kind of resistor inside the regulator. If you've ever had one of those little electric heaters where the coils glow red, this is how it's done. Same as with a lightbulb, where the filament glows when voltage is applied to it. The difference is, the heater is using this design to intentionally produce heat (and it is a VERY expensive way to make heat), and the light bulb is using it to make light. The Goldwing regulator is using it simply as a way to dump excess current, and it serves no useful purpose, and will, just like lightbulbs, eventually burn out the regulator. To me this is an absolutely ridiculous system, BUT, you cannot blame this one just on Honda. Not only do all Honda motorcycles use it, but almost ALL motorcycles use it.


And it even works, IF the alternator output is low enough, and the regulator is big enough to handle the extra current without cooking itself. The Goldwing (especially the '84-'87 models, and the LTD/SEI in particular, seem to have more problems with this design than most other bikes. For one, the Goldwing alternators put out more current than most, and second, the regulators seem to be undersized for their intended purpose. The '84-'87 models put out 350 watts, the LTD/SEI put out a whopping 500 watts. That would be a good thing, except for the way Honda chose to deal with what is left over. Rather than control the alternator output so that nothing is left over, but there is some in reserve IF needed, Honda chose to simply (and it is a very simple system) turn the leftovers into heat.

It seems to me (and I certainly could be wrong, because I am NOT an electrical engineer) that an alternator that only puts out enough current to satisfy the load placed on it, even though it is capable of putting out more, would also last a lot longer. The Goldwing (and many other bikes) are also known for alternator failure.
 
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