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As we were leaving Quesnel, BC. TLBranth's(Terry) 1500 stopped running, the display was flashing and he was hearing a beeping from his dash. We looked around for a few minutes trying to figure out what was happening when Terry noticed it was his "Battery Bug" that was beeping. It was reading about 10V's.

Terry had put in a rebuilt alternator last year just before his Miami trip and it appears to have given out on him. He had the original at home but that was 488 miles away. I think together we came up with a pretty good solution to getting him home. In preparation for this trip I had put a new battery into my 1800 and put the old battery into my trailer along with the appropriate wiring to charge it and use it as a power source when stopped. We decided to swap out my old battery for his so he could ride until it went dead and swap again. Terry pulled the fuses for the headlights and turned off everything not necessary. (He had already installed LED's in his bike last year) We left the tail lights/turn signals/and stop lights alone.

We made it about 90 minutes before that battery gave out. We put his old one back in but it went dead in about 25 minutes. So we started swapping my old battery and my new battery between the bikes about every 90 minutes to 2 hours. We would only run the battery down to between 11.5 and 12V so my 1800 would still start with it. The 1500's battery is about 1/2 in wider than the 1800's so I could not put his in mine. We got pretty good at swapping them out, down to under 10 minutes. I'd be charging one in my bike while he was running on the other. We rode about 430 miles this way to where they would turn off toward their house. We put Terry's battery back in his bike (it had been charging for 2 days in the trailer and we thought he would make it home) and he made it to Duvall before it gave out on him. He called a neighbor to come get him so he could get his trailer and drag the bike home.

What would you all have done?? We had a Fluke Meter with us and I verified the alternator was not charging at all but I did not know the complete charging circuit. It took us 2 days but we managed to get his bike home.
 

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My plan if that happens to me is to find an auto parts store, buy the largest deep cycle battery they have, ask them to fully charge it and head to the house!!
 

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Monkey with a Football
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I would have been notified immediately when the alt stopped charging by a device I have installed and got off to pull the headlamp fuse and to verify the problem. I would have had the option of riding out the full battery or pull the alt and check the brushes (I carry a spare set and a soldering iron).

If it were an alternator winding and I couldn't fix it, I would have still had my full battery to get someplace after pulling the headlamp fuse as you did.

If out in the sticks, the battery swap or a tow truck is really all you have left short of getting a room someplace and overnighting a new alt in for installation the next day.

Fortunately the GL1500 alts are relatively easy to swap, even in the field.

If you gotta keep moving, the battery swap works well with two bikes traveling together. Just a lot of work and hassle.
 

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While my 1200 didn't have Rudy's alert I did put on a voltmeter. As soon as I noticed the voltage drop I pulled the headlight fuse and turned towards home.

I got about half way there (30 minutes?) when the bike started to sputter. Fortunately that was near a helpful bike shopthat recharged my battery and I made it home on the second charge. Reg / rec problem.

One of the several things I like about Rudy'sSmart light is that it also tests the battery every time you start the bike. Just because a battery is new it doesn't mean it's good or just because it's older it doesn't mean it's bad.

Re swapping batteries to recharge, I read that it was hard on the alternator running at the high load all the time. Anyone confirm?

The dying battery is a lot like baseball. You always wantto try for one more base but if you push it you could get tagged someplace very inconvenient.
 

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A group of four of us had a similiar situation about 20 years ago. There were two 1200s and two 1100s on the trip. One of the 1200s had the stator fail up around Twin Falls, Idaho and we were from south Alabama, some 2000 miles from home. He had a bunch of extra lights on it and we disconnected everything except what it took for it to keep running then swapped the batteries with one of the 1100s. I don't remember how long it would run before the battery ran down but we would stop and change batteries again then push start the 1100 and off we go again. We made it back home without too much delay. We did rag the guy that had the bad stator about having a $10,000 motorcycle and he had to push start it. We had a lot of fun with him about that.
 

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Hanko,

You did great!

I was in same situation earlier this year (and fortunately not so far from home)... I did the battery swap with another 1500, but had the Luxury of not having to turn off my engine, due to having a Compufire alternator (and Manual Cruise Control Throttle Lock, to maintain high rpm) while removing my battery... Hence my bike never had to be re-started (with the dead loaner batter), and also was able to Simultaneiously jump start the dead bike using the 6ft cables I carry.

So far as what you could do in the future:
-Keep your #1 alternator serviced (especially on the 1500's, for which the brushes commonly stick)
-Carry a spare stock-alternator (Serviced and tested)
-Use a voltage indicator (and keep an eye on it, to detect low-voltage conditions before the big trip)
-Carry Jumper Cables (Long enough to reach another vehical; with jaws that fit your battery terminals... not all of them do!)
-Use a Manual Cruise Control Throttle Lock (Enables keeping the doner bike's engine to run on High Idle, while it's battery is being pulled as part of the swap wiith the other bike.)
-Use a Compufire alternator (enables bike operation on a dead battery, or without a battery at all temporarily.)
-Carry a bungee net (to restrain a car battery to your passenger seat, in the event that you need to buy one to get you home)
 

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I have had a alternator go out 500 miles from home a few years ago. Luckily I use a voltmeter, and was informed before things got too bad. Pulled all the fuses out I could. I keep a small 1 amp charger with me when I go on trips. At that time I was able to limp into Kansas City just before dark. Stopped frequently along the way to charge the battery a bit at conveince stores. Have something to drink. Bump started it to go then. When I got to Kansas City, Dells Honda was most helpful getting me going again. There wasn`t a new alternator available anywhere near, but they took 2 alternators they had laying around, and made one. (One had bad rotor, one had bad internal voltage regulator.) Great people.
Tom Bishop
`98 S.E.
 

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you guys used your head & made it home! Thats awesome!!
I would have also gone with a big deep cycle battery because you could run all day long on it's power. I don't know if any of those small solar chargers would ever keep up but in a pinch, it would charge your battery on the side of the road!
Good team work!
Hatch.
 

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The alternator on my preivous 1990 1500 died one nightwhile returning from Charleston to Greenville, SC. Fortunatley, my brother was riding his 1988 1500, so I pulled the headlight fuse and we swapped batteries every time my display started to go crazy. Made it back to Greenville, removed alternator and found brushes were shot. Went toMother Honda and bought brushes for $6.00, bought a pencil solder iron fromauto parts store, replaced brushes and rode it another 50K before the bearings wore out.
 

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On my previous '94SE the alternator pooped out, I bought a deep cycle marine battery and kept on going. Used it that way for a couple of weeks to work and back until a paycheck came along and could replace the alternator.



The battery was then installed on my Avion travel trailer so no loss there.
 

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Mine crapped out a couple of years ago on a trip.Just took it to a local auto-electrical rebuilder and had it cleaned and a new rear brg installed.Back on the road the same day.
 

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I have had many alternator problems with my 1500..Installed a Compufire and my problems are solved...No more worries.
 
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I do not understand why anyone riding a 1500 does not carry a spare alt. The group I ride with has had an alt. failure on the road by everyone including myself. They are cheap insurance. Buy an 89-95 and replace brushes and rear brg. and you are prepared.
 

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Monkey with a Football
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I don't feel the need to carry a spare CompuFire alternator.
 
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Rudy wrote:
I don't feel the need to carry a spare CompuFire alternator.
I was talking about the Honda alt. as I am sure you knew. It is definitely the weak link on a 1500.
 

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Well, I have a Comp-u-Fire and Oddyssey AGM battery and in 2005 while leading a group down theBlue Ridge Parkwayone rainy day as we pulled into Orchard Gap for gas and rest, I noticed voltage was low (new voltmeter I had installed). We still had about 74 miles to go on the BRP to our stop place at Park Vista Motel at 268.1.

One couple in the chapter, the husband had a broken leg and they were in their car bringing up the rear. Most of the group went on ahead, a couple stayed back to ride with me and the couple in the car did as well.

Due to fog and rain, I left the lights hooked up. I removed my side cover and put it in his car, I hooked up cables, got a boost and then off we rode until I saw voltage get to very low 9.1, 9.0, etc ...at which point I'ld find another spot to pull over. Due to my having a trike, and the other couple having a trike and the car .... any reasonably level grassy area was OK (no worry like a heavy bike on a side stand in wet ground).

We stopped a couple times between there and Park Vistaand each time I'ld hook up and he'ld give me a boost from the car which had the most to give from and then we'ld hit it again.

Reached near motel, only a few miles to go, 9.0 volts, I pushed on. I rode on and as we puilled into the motel she dies at under 8 volts indicated.

Dried off, changed shoes, went to supper, then we sat and talked into the night.

The next morning I swapped in a spare stock alt a buddy had unpacked from deep within his trailer (the swap took all of 20 minutes, no ratchets, CuF almost fellout as I just pulled it back, turned rear away from me, pulled it out drive vanes first ... stock went in easy, hooked up condenser and cables.)... and tried the start button .... my Oddyssey had come back up on it's ownbecause it started the bike.

Wow!

Got home several days later, take Comp-u-Fire alt for check up, was a freakishbreak in a winding of the rotor. In stock at local alt / gen / motor repair shop (it's a standard Delphi CS121 alternator with just a different end housing and drive vanes and a "Chicago Rawhide" # 9878 seal on the shaft and std Honda big Oring .... and a rebuild kit for a CS130 will supply needed rebuild parts), less than $100 total and out in under an hour.

Been fine ever since.

The Oddyssey AGM battery was new August 2004 and it's still going strong too.

I gave buddy back his spare and a few weeks later bought a freshly rebuilt std from a '94 as my spare from a buddy getting out of GWs .... I tested it andit rides in the trailer on longer trips now.



;)
 

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Didn't know 1500 alternators were so easy to change. If I ever take a long trip on my 1200 (not likely at this point) I will probably take a spare battery ($35 at Wallyworld) and a charger, if the stator fails, I will disconnect everything but the ignition, ride it as far as it will go, put in the good battery, get to a place to charge both batteries completely (probably overnight) that should get me several hundred miles, then I would do it again until I got home. That's $50 a night for a motel room for a good nights sleep, and a place to hook up a battery charger. Sure beats shelling out over $1000 bucks to some scamming dealer, then having to get a room anyway, while they took their good easy time with it.
 

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JerryH wrote:
Didn't know 1500 alternators were so easy to change. If I ever take a long trip on my 1200 (not likely at this point)
... etc ...

They are, unless it's a Comp-u-Fire in a Champion Trike. The Champion has a different front on the swing arm that reduces room, seems you have to take the swing arm loose and move backwards a hair to get it in there.



Take the trip on the 1200 though, great ride. I and wife had decided if we ever were on it and had a problem, might load her up in a small "U-Haul" and come home.



I put a new "Honda Lifetime Warranty Stator" in myself a few years ago but lately have been planning on installing a Geo Metro 55 amp alt in place like PoorBoy's kit does.I have the alternator and some pulleys and I guess, I just mneed to "do it". Bought an extra 1200 elect fan and set of timing belt covers cheap off ebay to have in case I mess up something (and got a spare radiator in the bargain too!).I'ld use it for running ... and unhook the 1200'sinternal one and volt reg-rectifierandleave in place as backup.
 

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JerryH wrote:
Didn't know 1500 alternators were so easy to change. If I ever take a long trip on my 1200 (not likely at this point) I will probably take a spare battery ($35 at Wallyworld) and a charger, if the stator fails, I will disconnect everything but the ignition, ride it as far as it will go, put in the good battery, get to a place to charge both batteries completely (probably overnight) that should get me several hundred miles, then I would do it again until I got home. That's $50 a night for a motel room for a good nights sleep, and a place to hook up a battery charger. Sure beats shelling out over $1000 bucks to some scamming dealer, then having to get a room anyway, while they took their good easy time with it.
Yo Jerry, $50 barely gets you breakfast in British Columbia. In Dawson Creek, rock bottom motel room was $135 Canadian. Logic good other than that though.
 

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$50 will get you a room at almost any Motel 6 in the continental U.S, from 1:00 pm to 11:00 am. I do know about the ridiculous prices up there though, myself and 2 other guys drove up to Prudhoe Bay in the early '80s, in a 3/4 ton Ford cargo van. I's a good thing we had the van to sleep in, a propane heater, and a huge supply of food (we had been warned about the prices, but $10 for a burger in '81!!!)


While I have racked up close to 500,000 miles riding all over the U.S on other bikes (mostly newer bikes) over the past 35 years, I doubt I will ever be able to trust the Goldwing to go very far. If it breaks down, it could very well cost more than it is worth to get home. It is the fuel injected model, and I have had nothing but trouble with it since I got it. I have had to make some parts, modify parts, use non motorcycle parts, and use a lot of used parts that were not in the best of condition. IF I could get new parts, I could make it reliable enough to travel on. I would look at a 1500, but they are so complicated I might never figure out how to work on it. To many electronics. At least the 1200LTD is easy to work on, just no parts.
 
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