Warranty Failure of GL1200 replacement stator


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SlowTyper
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Warranty Failure of GL1200 replacement stator

Postby SlowTyper » Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:20 pm



There was time when I thought if you changed your oil in a timely manner and eliminated the connector near the battery by soldering the three yellow stator wires, you no longer had to worrying about your GL1200 stator failing.

WRONG!

My neighbor just had his GL1200 stator fail for the third time! And he is understandably irate.

And I too found his situation disgusting. Big deal that his ElectroSport stator failure occurred within its warranty period. The only thing covered by that warranty (assuming the manufacture does not invent some creative excuse for the failure) is the cost of the stator itself. Not covered is the cost of oil, anti-freeze, gasket, and labor – things that total ten times the cost of the stator!

The first time my neighbor’s stator failed, he paid the local repair shop about $1000 to fix it, under the assumption it would be the only time. But two years later the new stator failed (I don’t know make/model) with a winding shorted to ground. And since my neighbor was tight with his cash at the time, I volunteered to help him with the labor so he could do the work himself the 2nd time around.

I also helped my neighbor choose a replacement stator, based on pictures that implied the windings were well insulated from the iron core, and had copious amounts of epoxy to protect them from vibration induced damage.

What I failed to consider when selecting a replacement, was how the yellow wires went through the aluminum plug where they exited the engine housing. In particular, I didn’t notice whether the edge of the aluminum plug could readily slice through the insulation of the yellow wires. I also did not think to ask the manufacturer if the insulation on the yellow wires was rated for submersion in oil. These oversights turned out to be a BIG mistake.

As it turned out, in a matter of months the insulation broke down on the yellow wires and one of them shorted against the aluminum casing plug.

Here’s a picture, with the main black protective cloth sleeve pulled away so you can see the cracks in the insulation that occurred, including under the protective cloth sleeve (FYI, the sleeve didn’t cover/protect the yellow wires where they actually entered the aluminum plug and shorted out; see factory picture with my red arrow added):

I assume the yellow insulation broke down because it did not tolerate engine oil. I say this because the insulation was not brittle and did not crack on the portion outside the engine.

But the manufacturing defects went even further. When I checked the splices between the yellow wires and the stator windings, I found one had a cold solder connection. All three were crimped, but only two had the crimped connection satisfactorily soldered. In the case of the third one, the solder was in a blob, coating one side of the crimp and running down the yellow insulation about a half inch.

The manufacturer told me that I could send the stator in, and if they found that it was in fact defective, they would replace it. I sent him a picture of the cracked insulation, but he blamed that on excessive heat rather than a faulty product.

My neighbor and I decided that even if we actually got a replacement stator under warranty, it would not be prudent to install it since there was no indication that the replacement would be any more reliable than the first one.

So we decided instead to repair the failed stator. I got out a large drill bit and chamfered the hole in the aluminum plug on the inside, where the rubber grommet does not protect the wire. I also replaced the three yellow wires with PTFE rated wire so that they would not break down in oil. And lastly, even though the new wire had extremely tough insulation and I had chamfered the hole, I still epoxied the protective cloth sleeve to the inside of the aluminum plug so that the new wires could not possibly rub up against the aluminum plug. And yes, I crimped and soldered and insulated and epoxied the connections that I made to the copper stator windings.

Here are pictures of the repair (my replacement PTFE wires were red, rather than yellow):

I was careful to make sure the “yellow” (now red) wires came straight out of the aluminum plug, and were not immediately bent. I also made sure they would not come near the rotating permanent magnet housing once the rear engine casing was reinstalled.

We tested the stator after we finished the repair, and so far, so good. It charges fine even at an idle.



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Re: Warranty Failure of GL1200 replacement stator

Postby WingAdmin » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:33 am

Those breaks in the insulation look like just that - breaks, not cuts. Cuts generally you can see damage surrounding the cut, those are very clean breaks. Judging by the heat damage on the heat shielding next to them, I suspect the wires were subjected to engine heat, became hard and brittle, and just broke, rather than being cut.

This is still a design fault, as they should have used wire with insulation that was rated to take the heat it would encounter, without hardening and becoming brittle.

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Rednaxs60
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Re: Warranty Failure of GL1200 replacement stator

Postby Rednaxs60 » Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:15 am

Excellent write up. Makes you wonder how many stators are actually still good, just need the wiring redone.

Repair is a fleeting expertise, repair by replacement is now the norm, we live in a throw away world. Another issue is the cost of the repair could easily equal the cost of a replacement unit. Got you coming or going.

Thanks for the write up.

Cheers
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

Ernest

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SlowTyper
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Re: Warranty Failure of GL1200 replacement stator

Postby SlowTyper » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:42 pm

I maybe should have made clear that the yellow wire insulation was also cracked lengthwise at the aluminum plug where it made its 90 degree bend, exposing a length of wire to ground. My purpose in showing the picture I did was to show that even where the yellow wire were protected by a sleeve and clamped down by the manufacturer, the insulation still cracked and failed.

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Rednaxs60
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Re: Warranty Failure of GL1200 replacement stator

Postby Rednaxs60 » Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:47 pm

As you know, I've been investigating my charging system. Honda uses 14 gauge wire for an electrical charging system that can generate up to 50A on an '85 LTD, or '86 SEI. Looked at the wires coming out of the engine case from the stator. Here is a picture of a very old set of wires:

Definitely similar to what you have found. The wires are discoloured, brittle, cracked and the wire is exposed. Can't imagine what the inside looks like. Time for an upgrade.

Cheers
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

Ernest

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WingAdmin
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2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Warranty Failure of GL1200 replacement stator

Postby WingAdmin » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:09 pm

Rednaxs60 wrote:As you know, I've been investigating my charging system. Honda uses 14 gauge wire for an electrical charging system that can generate up to 50A on an '85 LTD, or '86 SEI. Looked at the wires coming out of the engine case from the stator. Here is a picture of a very old set of wires:
stator wires.jpg

Definitely similar to what you have found. The wires are discoloured, brittle, cracked and the wire is exposed. Can't imagine what the inside looks like. Time for an upgrade.

Cheers


Yes, it can produce 50 amps at 12 volts DC...but remember that what comes out of those wires is three-phase AC at 50+ volts. The amount of current is much lower, plus it is spread across three phases, so it doesn't require the same gauge wires that 50 amps at 12 volts would require.

Even 50 amps of three-phase power still requires only 14 gauge wire.

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SlowTyper
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Re: Warranty Failure of GL1200 replacement stator

Postby SlowTyper » Mon May 02, 2016 1:32 pm

Rednaxs60 wrote:As you know, I've been investigating my charging system. Honda uses 14 gauge wire for an electrical charging system...


Wire size impacts power loss. The larger the wire, the less power lost.

Generally, power loss creates two concerns: One, the wire overheating and two, insufficient power reaching the destination. Neither of these two are a particular concern on our Wings, unless we add electrical load to the factory wiring harness.

Interestingly, the charging circuit is a "waste" system. That is, by design the stator generates more power than is needed. Consequently, the regulator has to 'waste' this excess power by converting it to heat. Thus, if you increase the size of the Yellow stator wires, the power saved by using larger wire will result in [slightly] more power needing to be 'wasted' by the regulator.

Even so, I INCREASED MY WIRE SIZE.

My situation is unique. I have added a lot of toys to my Wing and I occasionally ride in parades. The electrical load on my Wing, with everything on, requires that the engine turn at least 2200RPM to maintain charging. That was a bit higher than practical in a parade, and resulted in my slipping the clutch a good share of the time.

By increasing the wiring size along the charging path, I was able to lower my minimum engine speed required for charging by about 500RPM. This small change is of no practical value for everyday riding, but it was enough to make riding in parades a much better situation for me.




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