How to rewind a GL1500 Alternator


Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1500
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hugger-4641
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How to rewind a GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:35 am



Ok, I keep getting disconnected, so I'm going to have to do this in multiple posts.

1. Disassemble both housings and stator windings. Remove the three phillips head screws, as well as the five 8mm nuts, one of which holds the main output terminal on. The housings can be seperated from the stator assembly by using a small screw driver and gently prying them appart at the hole where the phillips head screws were removed. See the pics below.

2. At this point you should test the rotor with a meter or continuity checker to verify that you do in fact have an open rotor winding. You should have very low resistance or practically a dead short between the slip rings, if you have infinity or "OL" then you know you have a broken winding. You should check again to be sure by testing at the connection where the windings are soldered to the slip ring jumpers. You should also check between each end of the winding and the rotor shaft, you should have infinity or "OL" , otherwise there is a short to ground somewhere in the winding or the slip ring connections.

The same test should be done for the stator windings, there should be very low resistance or a dead short between any two leads of the stator windings, and there should be infinity or "OL" between each winding and the housing. You may have to scratch a little paint away from the housing to get a good connection for testing.
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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:30 pm

3. Then next step is to remove the rotor from the front housing. I forgot to get a pic of this step. You must remove the drive pully and gently tap or press the rotor out of the housing. Now you can unsolder the slip ring jumpers and remove the bearing and slip ring. In the pic below the slip ring assembly and bearing have already been removed. I also forgot to take a pic of the rotor before I removed the shaft, the second pic shows the parts laid out in their respective places.
slip ring assembly
slip ring assembly
rotor with shaft removed
rotor with shaft removed

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hugger-4641
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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:49 pm

4. Now it's time to press the shaft out of the rotor cage. If you've ever pressed a bearing or a shaft out of a hub, this step shouldn't need much explanation. You need a press and some kind of pipe or tube to hold the rotor cage and allow the shaft to exit the bottom. I used a piece of stainless steel pipe I just happened to have which is in the last pic, but you could use a piece of black pipe or a large socket. Just make sure you press from the correct direction. The part of the rotor that faced the slip ring assembly should be facing up, and the pipe should be put under the other side of the rotor cage. You will most likely have to press the shaft out in two steps. The second step will require a small dowel or mandrel of some kind to finish pressing the shaft free from the rotor cage. I used a 3/8" deep socket. Just be sure to catch the shaft when it comes free and don't let it fall to the floor.
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shaft
shaft
rotor cage
rotor cage
pipe
pipe

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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:14 pm

5. The next two steps can be done in which ever order you choose. I chose to seperate the bottom rotor cage and then remove the ends of the windings from the channels in the top rotor cage fan. Which ever way you choose, first mark two fingers of the rotor cages, as I have with black arrows in the first pic. This will help you put the cages back together in the same place as they were, which will ensure that you don't unbalance the rotor when you re-assemble it later. Next, pull the end of the windings free from the channels in the rotor cage. The green high-temp insulation was glued in on mine, so I used a solder iron to heat the top of the channel while pulling on the wire with needle nose pliers. If you can save these two pieces of insulation from the ends of the windings, you can re-use them, if not, I'll share what I did when we get to that step. If you have to, you can also just cut the winding between the plastic posts and use a small pick or screw driver to help force the remaining piece free from the fan channel. You will not miss the inch or so of wire you will be cutting off if you do this and most likely the broken winding is very close to this point anyway.

6. Next you must separate the bottom rotor cage from the coil. This takes some patience and finess. I used a small flat screwdriver and gently pryed between each one of the rotor fingers and the plastic insulating disc. Go around the rotor a little at a time on both sides of each finger and eventually it will fall off in your hand. If you can take your time and keep this plastic disc intact, it will make things easier later. The last pic shows the top cage and coil after the bottom cage has been removed.
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mark the rotor cages
mark the rotor cages
remove the windings from the rotor fan channel
remove the windings from the rotor fan channel
top rotor cage and coil
top rotor cage and coil

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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:00 pm

7. The next two steps also require some patience and finess. I used a heat gun pointed between the rotor fingers to gently soften up the glue that holds the coil and plastic disc to the rotor cage. Then I used the same technique as before, going around gently with a small screw driver and prying between the cage and the plastic until the coil finally popped off. I took my time, prying very gently on each side of the fingers and probably made a dozen rotations before it finally came loose with no damage.

8. Now comes the most tedious part, separating the plastic disc from the coil without damaging it. First you must un-wind the ends of the wire from the plastic posts if you haven't done so already. Now you must separate the disc. Again, I used the heat gun and pryed gently between the coil and the plastic. This plastic is actually the lip of a spool that is used in constructing the coil. This means you actually have to break the inner part that connects the outer lip to the center of the spool. The last pic shows the coil and the plastic disc after being separated.
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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:09 pm

9. Now comes the actual "repair" of the winding. If you haven't already located the broken winding, you probably will during this step. Take each end of the winding and un-coil 1/2" a turn, or 180 degrees. One end of the winding is coiled around the outside of the spool and the other end goes to the center of the spoil. When you un-wind each end 1/2 turn, you have essentially only removed one full turn of wire from the coil, which is not enough to affect the output voltage of the alternator significantly. This will also give you enough free wire to re-connect the slip ring assembly later.

However, if at this point you have not already identified where the winding was broken, you need to stop and check continuity between the ends of the windings. You may have removed the broken portion in previous steps and not realized it, but if at this point you still have an "OL" when connecting meter leads to both ends of the winding, this means your winding may be broken deeper inside the coil. If this is the case, you might try un-winding one more turn of wire from each end, but if this doesn't locate the break, then you may as well stop at this point and plan on getting the rotor coil re-wound.

I should mention something else at this point, the insulation coating or "varnish" on the wire itself will hamper connection with meter test leads. Make sure you are touching the very end of the wire, or else take a knife and scrape some of the varnish away to ensure a good connection. When it comes time to make a solder joint, I like to take a lighter or butane torch and burn away some of the varnish then clean with an emory board or sand paper before trying to solder. Otherwise, you will have trouble getting the solder to stick.
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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:53 pm

This is the best pic I can get of exactly where the winding was broken on mine. It was broken where the wire leaves the coil and makes the first wrap around the plastic post. Follow the end of the wire in the pic from right to left and you will see the break right where the wire enters the spool.
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broken winding
broken winding

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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:02 pm

10. Ok, so now that the wire has been un-coiled on each end, it's time to put plastic disc back on. I used some clear RTV both as a glue and as extra insulation. I put a thin coating around the edge of the coil, then I pressed the ends of the wire down into position and installed the disc back in it's original position.

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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:14 pm

11. I also used the RTV between the rotor cage and the coil. Be sure to line up the plastic posts with the channels in the rotor fan. When you turn the cage upside down with the coil installed, you can also see two half moon shaped plastic tabs that must line up with two fingers of the rotor cage. This will ensure that the bottom cage seats correctly into the assembly.
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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:22 pm

12. Now it's time to join the bottom cage. This is where those arrows come into play. Again, I used RTV between the bottom cage and the coil. After ensuring everything is aligned properly, set the assembly aside for a few hours to allow the RTV to cure. I stacked a brick on top it to make sure everything stayed tight together while curing.
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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:34 pm

13. Now for the ends of the windings. First, you must wrap the wire back around the plastic tab, at least once, twice if you can. If you were able to save those green pieces of high temp insulation, now is the time to thread them back on to the ends of the wire. If you had to, you could probably use a couple layers of heat shrink tubing. I wasn't satisfied with the condition of the green pieces when I got them removed from the fan channels,so I improvised. Instead of heat shrink, I just happened to have some J-type thermocouple wire laying around, so I stripped off a couple pieces of the white side and threaded them back on to the wires. This was a little tedious, you have to hold the wire with the pliers, sometimes straightening out little kinks and bends as you go, and use your other hand to twist and thread the insulation back over the wire.
After this, you must thread the insulated wire back through the channel in the rotor fan. At this point, I also applied some epoxy all around the plastic tab, the plastic post, and inside the fan channel to help secure the winding and maybe help prevent fatigue in the future.
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Re: GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:06 pm

This is a good time to verify once more that there is good continuity between the ends of the windings. Assuming all is fine there, from here on out, it's just a matter of proceeding in reverse of the tear down.
1. Press the shaft back into the rotor.
2. Tap the rotor and front bearing into the front housing.
3. Re-install the drive pulley (don't put this off till later, it's easier to hold on to the rotor cage or gently clamp it in a vise while tightening the nut than it is to try to hold on to the pulley itself while tightening the nut.
4. Partially re-install the slip ring assembly.
5. Soldering the windings back on to the slip ring jumpers, then seat the assembly against the rotor fan.
6. Re-install the rear bearing.
7. Re-install the stator assembly and rear housing. Be sure to pin the brushes back before putting the stator assembly back over the rotor, this will prevent damaging them. But don't forget to pull the pin out before adding the rear housing!

These instructions are from the premise that you tested the alternator to begin with and determined all else was fine except for the bad rotor. If you did, you should be able to install it on the bike and test with a volt meter to verify its output. If the battery is charged, you should see an output of about 14.2 volts that will fall off to about 12.6 as the battery charges. If the battery is weak and requires you to jump start it, you may see as much as 16 volts temporarily depending on the accuracy of your meter. If the output falls below 12.5 volts and does not start rising quickly, there is still something wrong.

I hope this helps someone, so far, my alternator has been in almost two weeks and over 2000 miles and still going. I may just leave it in and put the new alternator in the saddle bag and see how long it lasts.

Below is a pic of an adapter I made so I can bench test my alternator. There are other threads on bench testing so I won't go into that, but I thought someone might be inspired by my adapter, so in closing, here it is:
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Re: How to rewind a GL1500 Alternator

Postby TerryRuth » Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:42 pm

have removed the bearing how did you get the sliprings off the shaft

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Re: How to rewind a GL1500 Alternator

Postby TerryRuth » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:10 pm

im stumped on the slip rings?

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Re: How to rewind a GL1500 Alternator

Postby TerryRuth » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:14 pm

now what busted it tring to pry it off with 2 screwdrivers

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Re: How to rewind a GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:54 pm

Sorry I did not notice the last post sooner, but I used a bearing separator and puller to remove the slip rings. The puller is just a standard two bolt puller like a steering wheel puller used to pull the bearing separator and slip rings off the shaft. Auto part stores don't often stock bearing separators. I got mine from McMaster-Car for about $30, but I can't seem to get that link to post. Here is a similar item:

http://www.grainger.com/product/WESTWAR ... ?$smthumb$

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Re: How to rewind a GL1500 Alternator

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:29 am

Just an update to this article. After well over 30k miles on this repaired alternator, the regulator gave up and the brushes were about half worn out. I've replaced all that, plus bearings, and keeping it as a spare. The rotor is still fine, and so far I've made this repair to a total of four alternators, counting mine, and all were successful. So far, this particular alternator has accumulated the most miles of the four because it was the first one I repaired and this bike IS my daily driver. Up until last year, that meant at least 200 miles each day. I've changed jobs and now I only ride 50 miles one way instead of 90. So now I'm only putting 10k to 15k miles per year as opposed to 25k+ per year. The other three alternators I've repaired like this are on friend's bikes who don't ride quite as much as I do. None of them have more than 6k miles on the repair at this point.
I've come to the conclusion that the stock alternators just will not hold up long if you put any extra electrical goodies on your ride. Even if the rotor winding doesn't fail, it's just a matter of time before the regulator will.
I've put an 85amp unit from DBelectrical on my Aspy and trying it out for now. Heat is the enemy of an alternator, and the 85 amp unit has a better regulator assembly and bigger housing with larger vents which should help dissipate more heat. Time will tell, but I suspect I won't be putting this stock alternator back on, other than for temporary replacement. If nothing else, at least I know that these OEM alternators can be repaired if needed. I hope this article helps someone, and feel free to PM me if you decide to try this repair yourself and need some assistance!




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