Defective voltage regulator or bad battery

Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:50 pm
Location: sturgeon bay, wisc
Motorcycle: 1991 goldwing interstate

Defective voltage regulator or bad battery

Post by jajeanquart » Wed May 16, 2012 6:47 am

I have an 82 interstate with the optional gauge cluster....The voltmeter had been showing 14 volts, but out riding , the reading went down to (9)nine volts and stays there.
I have went thru the various posts attempting to ascertain whether it could be the battery, or voltage regulator....Have been unable to pin point the malfunction.....In the Clymer manual, it outlines the tests to perform with the ohm meter...which i have done.. It states to hook pos lead to red/white, and neg lead to each of the yellow wires. expecting a high reading, over 6000 ohms......i get nothing.......Reversing the leads, as directed, the readings are supposed to be low.........which they all are.....about 640 ohms...but which the manual states low being 5--40 ohms.
The battery is charged.....dont know the age of it though...but reads 13 volts when using the voltmeter.........
I have also cleaned the wiring harness. ... and put the die electric grease on the connections............
So , due to limited knowledge of electrical problems........does it sound like just the battery crapping out, or is the voltage regulator defective.

I will also , after practicing my soldering skills, to cut the three yellow wires, and reconnect as a hard wire connection........thanx,,,,,,,,,,,jeff

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Re: Defective voltage regulator or bad battery

Post by virgilmobile » Wed May 16, 2012 9:11 am

The charging system is comprised of only 2 major components and a bit of wiring.
I'll try to describe the proper test procedures that work for me.

THE STATOR.....Its a coil of wire...spin a magnet past it and it will produce electric....

Testing the stator is done with the 3 yellow wires cut loose from the bike.
The stator is 3 separate windings thus the 3 yellow wires.
Each winding has a common connection to the other 2 BUT NOT GROUND.The windings are measured between any pair of the yellow wires and will read like a dead short.It's usually 3 to 4 ohms.
There should be NO RESISTANCE from any yellow wire to the engine or ground.

Next it to check the voltage it will produce.
With lo load on the stator,voltages can get very high,more than you would expect for a 12 volt system.

At a rpm...The average stator will produce around 30 volts AC between any 2 of the yellow wires and can reach above 70 volts AC at 3500 rpm so keep your fingers off the wires when you measure this.
Again,there is NO measurement to ground.

The rectifier/regulator.
It's got a bunch of wires on it but is simple in function.It converts the AC delivered by the stator to 14.8 volts DC and can provide about 25 amps of current.
Rather than getting into the innards,it's easier to measure what it's doing.

It is normal for the voltages to vary.
At a idle,many bikes actually will discharge the battery and the Volts can fall below 12 volts but as soon as the rpm's go up,the volts should also climb.
Common volts measured across the battery terminals can be....
12.8 with the key off
12.2 with the key on
10.9 cranking the engine.
12 volts at a low idle
12-14.8 as the rpm and time increase.

If you read with a amp meter....
At 3000 rpm...each yellow wire produce around 8 amps AC.
Amp measurements inline with the 30 amp fuse....
0.00 to 0.010 amp with the key off
10-12 amp discharge with the key on,engine off
3-15 amp during recharge cycle of the battery.

Common problem areas....
The 30 amp Dog Bone fuse....inside the cover of the starter relay....Just replace it with a external 30 amp blade fuse and waterproof holder.
The 3 yellow wires...actually the gets cooked...cut it out and solder the wires direct.
there is no polarity,just yellow to yellow.

The regulator.....If the stator works and the wiring is repaired....look at the switched volts on the black wire.It needs to be there and within 0.05 volts of the battery volts.

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