Alternator Overcharging?


Technical information and Q&A applicable to all years and models of Goldwings
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dwight007fchr
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Alternator Overcharging?

Postby dwight007fchr » Sat May 28, 2011 7:12 pm



Hello all. I recently purchased a 83 GL1100 Interstate, and have been doing extensive repairs and servicing to get her back up to par. A few weeks ago I noticed that some battery acid was dripping down onto the frame and the chrome muffler.....not a good thing. I rinsed off and then scrubbed with baking soda and saw that I had slightly over-filled the battery after I bought the bike (battery was only 2/3 full at that time). So, I used a syringe and removed enough battery acid to get back to the full mark. I drove the wing again and realized she was still dripping battery acid. Once again, I took the battery out, rinsed and did the baking soda trick, and rinsed down the battery and inspected......but I could find no cracks or issues. The drain tube was a bit weathered around the top where it plugs into the battery, so I trimmed it back and hooked it back to the battery. I also discovered that one of those annoying bees had built a mud-nest at the very bottom of the battery drain tube.....not a mud dobber, but one of those fat yellow bees that packs worms and insects in round openings and closes it up with mud......leave a good socket set setting out and they will fill every socket up with bugs and mud. So, I cleaned out this clogged battery tube, and hoped that would solve the battery acid leak issue.

After a couple weeks of doing more repairs....timing belts, adjusting valves, changing all fluids, etc., I finally drove her today. She seems to run fine.....no runs, no drips, no errors. However, when I got back from a good drive, I pulled off the plastic battery cover, and could easily hear that sound of bubbling......or a similar sound.....coming from the battery. I do not see any acid leaking this time, but was curious if this faint bubbling sound is normal on all Wings. Or, is it a sign that the alternator is over-charging the battery?

What is the best way to check the alternator's charge rate? I suppose you need to check at idle, and then around 2500RPM? I did not see any "How To" articles on this, but will go check again.

Thanks.
dc



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virgilmobile
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby virgilmobile » Sat May 28, 2011 8:24 pm

The only way to accurately determine charge rate is to put a amp meter in line with the battery load circuit.It would need to measure from 1-30 amp.
The easiest method is to use a DVM directly at the battery posts measuring DC voltage.
NORMAL voltages seen are... 1000rpm.11.8 to 12.5 volt...-5 to +3 amp
1500rpm 12.2 to 13 volt..+2 to 5 amp
2500rpm 12.8 to 13.8 volt...3 to 8 amp
3500rpm 13 to 14.5 volt...5 to 20 amp
OK This is a subjective test.voltages and current draw will vary depending on current battery charge condition,load on battery,temperature,phase of the moon,etc.
Generally when the bike fails in charging properly,we usually see very low voltages or very high voltages.If it reads well above 14.8 volts at 3500 rpm,the regulator circuit is bad and the battery will boil dry.Some bubbling is ok as long as it's not violently excessive and getting the battery HOT.
As a side note..check the battery level once in a while,maybe each time you change the oil.I usually need to add a little each year or so.

dwight007fchr
Posts: 434
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby dwight007fchr » Sat May 28, 2011 8:49 pm

Virgil........Thanks.......that was an excellent post. You gave me the info I need, and I will do some testing tomorrow.......and I hope it isnt a blue moon as that would surely throw the amperage all out of wack and ruin the test.

I sure hope she tests in a decent range since I have had her torn apart for a few weeks, and just got her together.....and know that its another big job to remove everything to get to the alternator.....keeping fingers and toes crossed.

dc

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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby WingAdmin » Sun May 29, 2011 11:33 am

Keep in mind that most consumer DVM's will not be capable of measuring anything close to 30 amps, and will quickly burn out if you try.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby virgilmobile » Sun May 29, 2011 12:59 pm

Correct.I refer to using the DVM for accurate voltage measurement at the battery.If you do want to use a amp meter to test the charge rate,use a $10 amp gauge from the auto store.Hook it TEMPORARY in place of the 30 amp fuse with #10 wire,as short as possible(less than a foot)
Verify it is hooked up right by turning on the key,it should show a discharge without the engine running.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby virgilmobile » Sun May 29, 2011 1:07 pm

Oh , by the way,the gl1100 does not use a "alternator"in the common automotive terms.The internal stator is a collection of wire wound around a metal core,with a spinning magnet around it.It outputs AC 3phase on 3 yellow wires.From there a magic box(regulator)that does all the work to make it a charger.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby dwight007fchr » Sun May 29, 2011 6:04 pm

Virgil and Wing......thanks for the further comments......all good info. Interesting point about the 3 phase stator with the 3 yellow wires coming off it. I would tend to think that the voltage regulator would typically pose a problem before the stator.......and the regulator is much more accessible I believe (havn't verified that yet).

Havnt had time yet to do the testing......will keep you posted. Thanks again for the great input.

dc

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virgilmobile
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:45 pm

Just purchased a digital amp meter from harbor freight $10.It plugs in place of the fuse for testing.I'll check it out and post the results.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:56 pm

Bought a harbor freight on sale $10 30amp digital meter.Unplugged the 30 amp fuse and attached the test probe.This is what I found...
10.2 amp discharge with key on and engine off.
15.5 amp charge at 3500 rpm.
3 amp at 1000 rpm.
as it ran for 10 minutes at 2500 rpm(9 amp) the charge rate slowly dropped as the battery approached a full charge.It finally settled down to 2.5 - 3.5 amp running from 1000-3000 rpm.

Because the meter does not show the difference between charge and discharge,I assume as long as it doesn't show 10 amp steady(bike load not charging)the reading is charge rate.

I tested this meter on both the gl1100 and the gl1200.
The gl1200 current drain was slightly less,and the charging the same.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby dwight007fchr » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:53 pm

Virgil.......GREAT info. I just checked the Harbor Freight website, but could not find this digital meter......send me a link if you have time. My email address is dwightfchr@aol.com

So, with the key on, engine off, the drain is around 10 amps....the headlight, and other lights, and juice going to the coils, etc.

Good to see that the amp charge rate drops down as the battery charges up.....Im hoping mine will show this to be true too.

Will post my results when I conduct the same test......hope to add this meter to my next HF order.

dc

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virgilmobile
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:07 pm

The local HF had the meter on sale .The item number is 67724.Just remember that it doesn't display a difference between charge and discharge.I verified it was charging by the display changing from the static 10 amp draw.It's possible that at an IDLE it may have been discharging at 2 amp rather than charging.
Also I plugged it into the fuse holder that was replacing the main 30 amp dog bone fuse.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby dwight007fchr » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:49 pm

Virgil.......Thanks for that info about the amp meter. I found it, and then I looked some more, and found another one for $19 that actually did more comprehensive charging system testing.....so I ordered that last night. Also snagged a cheap amp guage, and I might add it to my instrument cluster so I can monitor the charge rate while driving.

dwight.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:25 am

Part number please.I'm all for better and easier.
I thought about that $4 analog gauge,but I wondered how well it would show a 2-5 amp charge.I think the gauge is rated for 50 amp ,so 3 amp may not move the needle much.And to hook it on the dash would require at least a # 10 or larger wire to reduce voltage drop.
I found that there is a .56 volt drop just between the 30 amp fuse and the fuse block.A bit undersized wiring if you ask me.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby dwight007fchr » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:21 pm

Virgil........Here is the part number and info:
Thanks for the tip about using #10 wire to the analog amp meter....I ordered one and may try to mount it above the dash cluster.
dwight.


100 Amp 6 Volt/12 Volt Battery Load Tester

Item # 90636 Manufacturer: Chicago Electric Power Tools
Battery Load Tester tests 6 and 12 volt batteries as well as charging system outputs.

Only: $25.99

Sale: $19.99


Description of Chicago Electric Power Tools 90636

Our battery load tester lets you test 6 volt or 12 volt batteries, test the charging system, analyze the battery condition (explanatory chart included), and test the starter motor. Accurate color-coded voltmeter includes scale from 1 to 16 volts.

* Load test capacity: 100 amps, 500 to 1000 cold-cranking amps
* Battery capacity: 6 volt, 12 volt
* Includes heavy-duty battery clips, carrying handle, and rubber feet

Amp setting: 100 amps
Lead length (with copper-plated clamps): 16-3/4" (x2)
Overall dimensions: 12-3/4" L x 6" W x 3" thick
Shipping Weight: 2.75 lbs.

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jarvait
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby jarvait » Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:25 am

Hi,
I want to know if it is the same procedure with my GOLDWING 1000, 1978. When I come back from a ride, my battery must be charged. Also, the engine is not running well and the spark plug were black.


The only way to accurately determine charge rate is to put a amp meter in line with the battery load circuit.It would need to measure from 1-30 amp.
The easiest method is to use a DVM directly at the battery posts measuring DC voltage.
NORMAL voltages seen are... 1000rpm.11.8 to 12.5 volt...-5 to +3 amp
1500rpm 12.2 to 13 volt..+2 to 5 amp
2500rpm 12.8 to 13.8 volt...3 to 8 amp
3500rpm 13 to 14.5 volt...5 to 20 amp
OK This is a subjective test.voltages and current draw will vary depending on current battery charge condition,load on battery,temperature,phase of the moon,etc.
Generally when the bike fails in charging properly,we usually see very low voltages or very high voltages.If it reads well above 14.8 volts at 3500 rpm,the regulator circuit is bad and the battery will boil dry.Some bubbling is ok as long as it's not violently excessive and getting the battery HOT.
As a side note..check the battery level once in a while,maybe each time you change the oil.I usually need to add a little each year or so.[/size][/size]

dwight007fchr
Posts: 434
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: Culpeper, Va
Motorcycle: 1983 1100 Goldwing Interstate

Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby dwight007fchr » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:15 pm

The next time anyone drives their Wing.......at highway speeds for 10+ minutes, can you listen closely to the battery cover area after you turn off the engine. Mine has that wierd sound of "bubbles or off-gassing", and you have to get within a foot or so of the battery cover to hear it. I have not had time to do an amp charge test, and was just curious if this was a normal sound. I am hoping she is not overcharging and boiling...However, when I take the cover off and inspect, I dont see acid dribbling out, and the acid drain tube does not appear to be discharging any acid. (I cleaned out the acid drain tube last month as it had a clogged tip from a mud-dobber or some type of insect).

Thanks.
dc.....83 GL1100 Interstate.

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mbc251
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Re: Alternator Overcharging?

Postby mbc251 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:14 pm

I changed out my liquid acid battery to an AGM, no drain needed and lot more stable power.


If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself. NOT! I had to much fun getting here.


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