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Hello all, last night I replaced the halogen bulb in my headlight with an led. This morning on the way to work I noticed my voltage guage was higher then normal. It usually sits just above 14 when riding but today it was at 15, should I switch the bulbs back? Will this damage my battery or charging system?
 

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That voltage is a little high, and the reduced draw from the LED is putting more load on the factory shunt regulator. Added heat in the regulator could cause failure and 15v is a little high for the battery too.

LEDs are nice to have, I'd look at upgrading the rectifier and regulator (separate units on a GL1000 as I recall) to one of the new MOSFET Series type Rec/Reg combo units out there now.
 

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Before you do anything else make sure your voltage meter is accurate. If you are using the original meter on the bike chances are good it is off a volt or two.
 

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Before you do anything else make sure your voltage meter is accurate. If you are using the original meter on the bike chances are good it is off a volt or two.
ditto,

verify this with a DVM....
panel meters are only indicative of a trend.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Before you do anything else make sure your voltage meter is accurate. If you are using the original meter on the bike chances are good it is off a volt or two.
ditto,

verify this with a DVM....
panel meters are only indicative of a trend.
Thanks, I'll check, should I just check the voltage at the battery with the engine at 3k rpm?
 

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3-5K. Anywhere in there is fine. Just hold it steady and check the voltage at the battery. Compare to the dash gauge to get an idea how far off it is. I'd bet your gauge is a full volt off. Like John said, the gauge is more to show trends than exact measurements. I put a cigarette lighter DVM in my fairing pocket to give me a much more accurate check.
 

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on my 1800, I wired the panel voltmeter DIRECT TO BATTERY POSTS.....

But, that comes with dire consequences, because if a Battery Tender is not always hooked up, it will run the battery down flat in about 3 weeks time....

I am a Battery Tender freak guy, and I have them on everything I own that sets more than 2 or 3 days between use. Even the lawn tractor, especially the lawn tractor as it sets for 3 or 4 weeks in between use... those little cheap ass batteries for those things don't like to linger below 13.6 volts.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
3-5K. Anywhere in there is fine. Just hold it steady and check the voltage at the battery. Compare to the dash gauge to get an idea how far off it is. I'd bet your gauge is a full volt off. Like John said, the gauge is more to show trends than exact measurements. I put a cigarette lighter DVM in my fairing pocket to give me a much more accurate check.
So I checked the battery with my DVM and it was showing around 15.9 to 15.6 at the battery, the book says the regulator should kick it at 14-15 volts, also it gets pretty damn hot! is the regulator going bad? I've put over 2000 miles on it so far with it no issues, I never thought to check until I put the led headlight in, I put the halogen bulb back in also to see if that helps
 

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Ohm's Law is at play here. Ohm's Law states: resistance of the circuit is equal to the voltage divided by amperage, or R=V/A. The LED is lower wattage than a Halogen by about 1/3. Reducing the wattage in the circuit is the same as lowering the resistance. In your GL1000, the current (watts or volt times amperage) is constant. Lower the resistance, current is constant then the voltage must go up to keep the formula balanced... or so Ohm says. The only reason to have the LED is if you like it. If you want to keep it I would suggest a modern voltage regulator such as Rick's MOS FET regulator. Above 14 volts will cause the battery to boil off faster. You will need to keep a closer eye on the battery electrolyte level until this gets sorted out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ohm's Law is at play here. Ohm's Law states: resistance of the circuit is equal to the voltage divided by amperage, or R=V/A. The LED is lower wattage than a Halogen by about 1/3. Reducing the wattage in the circuit is the same as lowering the resistance. In your GL1000, the current (watts or volt times amperage) is constant. Lower the resistance, current is constant then the voltage must go up to keep the formula balanced... or so Ohm says. The only reason to have the LED is if you like it. If you want to keep it I would suggest a modern voltage regulator such as Rick's MOS FET regulator. Above 14 volts will cause the battery to boil off faster. You will need to keep a closer eye on the battery electrolyte level until this gets sorted out.
Thanks! Do you think as long as I don't let the battery run dry it should be ok? Also do you know if that Ricks MOSFET regulator is an exact replacement without having to do any wiring?
 

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So I checked the battery with my DVM and it was showing around 15.9 to 15.6 at the battery, the book says the regulator should kick it at 14-15 volts, also it gets pretty damn hot! is the regulator going bad? I've put over 2000 miles on it so far with it no issues, I never thought to check until I put the led headlight in, I put the halogen bulb back in also to see if that helps
That seems pretty high. The halogen bulb will help clamp the voltage down considering how much juice they draw.
 

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I don't know if Rick's regulator is a direct fit, but it sure looks like it. That is the safest bet, especially considering how expensive MC batteries have become.
 

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If you don't want to spend the dollars for a rec/reg a simple load resistor will restore current and voltage to acceptable levels. Large (physical size) resistors with a built in heat sink can be found in most electronic catalogs. An active ham operator here may be able to give you more info to locate one. Good luck.
 

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Thanks! Do you think as long as I don't let the battery run dry it should be ok? Also do you know if that Ricks MOSFET regulator is an exact replacement without having to do any wiring?
Good for you to check the battery voltage. I would be looking at the battery level after about every two hours of riding. You will find out if it is boiling off and how often it needs filling. The other issue is life of the other bulbs on the bike. I think the '78 has front running lights. The higher wattage light especially the tail light will have a reduced life span. Check with Rick's about your problem and for the MOS FET regulator. I have one on my '85 and the voltage is very consistent. I'm planning to run the stock regulator on my '81.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks! Do you think as long as I don't let the battery run dry it should be ok? Also do you know if that Ricks MOSFET regulator is an exact replacement without having to do any wiring?
Good for you to check the battery voltage. I would be looking at the battery level after about every two hours of riding. You will find out if it is boiling off and how often it needs filling. The other issue is life of the other bulbs on the bike. I think the '78 has front running lights. The higher wattage light especially the tail light will have a reduced life span. Check with Rick's about your problem and for the MOS FET regulator. I have one on my '85 and the voltage is very consistent. I'm planning to run the stock regulator on my '81.
Ricks seems kinda expensive
 

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I replaced the halogen when it blew out with a LED that I had.. no change in voltage.
I used a generic reg / rectifier earlier with a 'Shingdon" type that costs about 20 bucks.

https://www.banggood.com/Regulator-Rectifier-Upgrade-Kit-Replaces-FH012AA-For-SHINDENGEN-MOSFET-FH020AA-p-1220209.html?rmmds=search&cur_warehouse=CN

That is the one i used it mounts in the same position as the original but I made a metal bracket to help cool it. It comes with all the connectors needed but you will have to buy wire to attach the output to the battery along with terminals for the battery.
 

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So I checked the battery with my DVM and it was showing around 15.9 to 15.6 at the battery, the book says the regulator should kick it at 14-15 volts, also it gets pretty damn hot! is the regulator going bad? I've put over 2000 miles on it so far with it no issues, I never thought to check until I put the led headlight in, I put the halogen bulb back in also to see if that helps
Stators put out FULL MAX power for the given RPM.
you replaced filament bulbs with LEDs which essentially removed "all" of the lamp load from the charging system.

The OEM regulator/rectifier unit is a Shunt to Ground type system, that means that it attempts to control the voltage by diverting the excess power to ground.

As mentioned, you have run into "Ohms Law".
All of the Watts of power the bulbs used to pull, are now being dumped into the Regulator, and it has to dissipate the heat load

Just for grins, lets say you off loaded 5 amps of lights for LEDs.
That 5 amps is now being shunted to ground by the regulator, and it now has to dump the heat thru the fins....

5 amps times 14 volts is 70 watts, no wonder the regulator is working overtime. I would advise that you find a Wire Wound resistor of about 3.0 ohms and hook it up to the lighting circuits to replace the load that used to be consumed by the bulbs.

that will reduce the amount of power the regulator has to handle.
I am surprised the regulator is still working, it will burn up soon if you don't help it out.

That wire wound resistor better be mounted in the air, clear of any plastics or wiring harness. It will get blisteringly hot. And it better be rated at 100 watts.
 

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My '78 Suzuki (or was it the '72 CL350, doesn't matter) had a 3 position headlight switch, High beam, Low Beam, Off. In the "off" position it also disconnected one of the three stator legs to reduce the alternator output so the regulator didn't have to work so hard.

A MOSFET Series-type regulator is highly recommended for the 4cyl wings. And with a REDUCED load (like converting to LED) they will actually run cooler instead of hotter.

In your case, excessively high voltage at battery, I'd be checking the grounds at the regulator. With a good DVM, measure voltage (engine running) between the green wires on the rec/rec and the battery neg terminal. Ideally should be 0 volts. If you find anything more than maybe 0.1 volts consider patching in another ground line between the green wires and a good ground on the bike, maybe directly to battery neg terminal. Any voltage found at the green wires of the regulator "fools" it into putting out a higher voltage to the battery.
 
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