Charging System Problem


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Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:31 pm



Just when I thought everything had been taken care of and it was time to ride another problem cropped up. :( The charging system isn't charging, but had been. Here's what's happening.

While doing mouse damage repairs I would start the bike every couple of days to charge the battery. Haven't bought a battery tender yet. The on-board voltage meter would show an output of 14(+) volts for a few minutes with an increased rpm, then would drop to somewhere around 13.5 volts and the rpms would drop to around 1,000. Sounds normal to me.

Turned the key on, without starting the bike, to do one last check of my lighting. Thought it was turned off while I went to lunch, it wasn't. When I returned the battery was too weak to start the bike so I put my low amperage battery charger on it. While re-installing the false tank I somehow hit the positive clip of the charger and pushed it against the frame causing a spark. Quickly corrected the situation and finished with the flase tank. About an hour later I started the bike, took a short (about 1 mile) test ride. Noticed the on-board voltage meter indicated about 11.5 volts. Never increased. Recharged the battery with the charger, started the bike again. The on-board voltage meter showed about 13.5 volts, then steadily dropped to a little over 10 volts. Turned off the bike, charged the battery. Took the charger off the bike overnight. The next morning the battery had drained back down to around 10 volts and of course the bike wouldn't start. Charged it again, started the bike and the voltage started dropping, settling at around 11.5 volts and doesn't vary regardless of the rpms. This time the starter sort of hummed, not whirled, when the ignition key was turned, but worked fine when I hit the start button.

Can't find any bare wires or connectors that were left loose. Did notice the voltage regulator was getting hot, along with a couple of wires near it (from the heat of the voltage reg????) then read the article/question about the left side tank getting hot, and how the voltage regulator normally gets hot, so I'm assuming that's not the problem. Don't have any meters to check anything. Any ideas regarding the cause of this problem? :?: Oh, this is regarding a 1985 GL1200 LTD. Yes, I've checked the dogbone fuse. I have paperwork showing the PO replaced the stator about 6 months before the bike was put into "storage".


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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:18 pm

I'm going to guess the problem is the battery. It may have been nearing the end of its service life, and your accidentally leaving it on pushed it over the edge.

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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:23 pm

Even though it's a new battery (about a month old) I tend to agree with you. I plan to have it load tested asap, however since the bike is down again I'm taking the time to replace both of the dogbone fuses with weatherproof 30amp spade fuses, and both of the wiring blocks the PO put inline when the stator was replaced. Why they used the blocks is beyond me. Guess that was a "shop decision". I'm also going to remove the connector near the voltage reg and solder those wires together.
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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:53 am

I did this on my 1200 interstate.I had intermittent everything,from dash lights,charging,dying intermittently to tail lights cutting off.viewtopic.php?f=16&t=12522

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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:57 pm

Great job. :) Thanks for the link. I've done everything around the battery pretty much the same as you except I left the bracket. Haven't tackled anything around the regulator yet. That's scheduled for my next day off. As for the sight glass... mine's all yellowed, so I like what you did with yours. How did you get the old sight glass out?

Regarding the last pic in your link, perhaps I haven't dug quite deep enough yet (or have forgotten about it), but I don't recall seeing a relay that looks like that anywhere near the regulator. Is that something you added? If you added it, do you have the brand and part number? With most of the parts stores around here all I have to do is mention "motorcycle" and their eyes glaze over and I get "we don't have nutten for dem" type answers. I've found if I can avoid "that" word I find parts I wouldn't otherwise find. ;)
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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:44 am

The relay is a mod to stabilize the switched ignition volts to the regulator.Ask for a 12 volt automotive relay.the kind to switch on lights.
The lens is pushed out from the inside.

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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:46 pm

Thanks again. Have some other questions for you about this. Before your reply I read the following post from neoracer regarding replacing the regulator plug - "2) same for the green wires but at the same time,add another same gauge and run it over to the frame,just makes another groundpoint w/o going all way back to battery" found here - http://gl1200goldwings.com/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=8956. (I know if I use your solution the balance of his post, with the exception of the soldering, would not be applicable) I liked the idea of adding the ground, but I also like using the relay. If I were to incorporate the relay as you described, would adding this additional ground create a problem?

The other question - Why did you add a 5 amp fuse to the "harness red", and why such a low amperage fuse if it's carrying a large current load?
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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:27 am

I generally don't add to the grounding system,however I do remove the ground lugs and scrape them clean.This includes the battery ground thats under the engine bracket.
Adding another ground would only be necessary if there is a measurable voltage drop from the battery negative post to the regulator green wire.The same method we use to test for voltage drop on the switched wire.

The relay is used to bypass the entire "switched ignition" circuit for the regulator only.It does not feed back into the switched ignition line.
I've measured a voltage drop in excess of 0.7 volts from the battery to the black wire going into the regulator.
One fellow had a 1.4 volt difference and that pushed the regulator to charge the battery well over 15 volts and boiled it dry.
The fuse is for the relay coil protection only.It only operates the relay coil,so it could have been a 2 amp fuse.
I let the relay take battery power(red wire) directly to the regulator(black wire) through soldered connections.This eliminates any voltage drop problems.

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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:14 pm

Wow! Thank you very much for the detailed reply. :) This really helps me understand the circuitry. I appreciate you taking the time to explain this.
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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:39 pm

Completed replacing both of the dogbone fuses with spade fuses and "overhauled" the starter solenoid. Working now on eliminating the wire block and plug at the regulator. When I removed all the tape the PO put on the wiring harness I found this buried there. Since it looked like it had some corrosion on it I thought about opening it, then changed my mind. Not sure how readily it can be replaced, or IF it can be replaced. What is it, and what purpose does it serve?
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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:07 am

I recognize the marking.It's a 0.47 microfarad 250 volt capacitor.
Normally used in electrical systems to filter regulator switching noise or as a spark suppressor for the fuel pump.
It's benefit is to reduce or eliminate noise induced into the radio system.
You could just solder the wires direct to the lugs.

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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:59 pm

So.... it shouldn't be a contributor to the charging system not charging, right? Are you saying I could just solder the wires to the lugs on the capacitor itself and eliminate yet another connector? :D
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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:14 pm

It really shouldn't affect the charging system and the connector could be cut off and wires soldered direct to the lug.

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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:06 am

:D

"Your message contains 2 characters. The minimum number of characters you need to enter is 20." - But I didn't have 20 characters worth of a reply to say!.... until now. LOL
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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:26 pm

Ok, now it's starting to pi...., uh, tick me off. :( Got everything back in place, hooked up the battery (checked it first - 13(+) volts), turned the key, bike cranked fine, fired a couple of times so I let go of the starter button, bike died. Tried it again. Same thing. Checked the 2 new spade fuses and the CFI fuse in the fuse box. All ok. Tried it again, holding the starter button a little longer. Bike started, ran a little over 1200 rpms. Let go of the starter button. Bike died. Tried it again, runs as long as I hold the starter button. Yes, I know I'm not supposed to do that. Revs up like it's trying to charge the battery, but dies the second I release the starter button. Never had a problem getting it started before, even when running it would discharge the battery. Oh, and apparently it's trying to charge the battery because the battery isn't getting run down as fast as it did before while trying to start the bike. Sooooo, any ideas about what's going on? Is there anything else I should check short of basically starting over and checking all of the connections again??? Checked each one before applying the heat shrink and wrapping the harness. Also checked to be sure it has plenty of fuel.
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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:49 pm

Look at the wiring at the starter solenoid.Somehow it sounds like the ignition module is getting power only while cranking.look for volts on the ignition module with just the key on.

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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:14 pm

virgilmobile wrote:Look at the wiring at the starter solenoid.Somehow it sounds like the ignition module is getting power only while cranking.look for volts on the ignition module with just the key on.


Not necessarily - it could be the ignition module is just not getting ENOUGH power when the starter is released. Check the difference at the ignition module with starter pressed vs starter not pressed.

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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:15 pm

Yes indeed.It sounds like the ignition module has enough supply volts while cranking and not enough when the start solenoid is de-energized.
I think I read that he replaced both dog bone fuses,and "overhauled" the solenoid.
I only question where the ignition module is getting it's power from.?Is there a wiring fu-fu at the solenoid?...It's just a starting point.
If you need,I can separate the color codes.

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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:51 pm

Excuse my ignorance about this but... when you say "ignition module" are you talking about the solenoid or someting else?

Here's how I wired the solenoid, and yes, I secured the loose end of the tape. :) Also tested the solenoid. It clicks when power is applied, and the circuit completes & disconnects.
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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:41 pm

virgilmobile wrote:Yes indeed.It sounds like the ignition module has enough supply volts while cranking and not enough when the start solenoid is de-energized.
I think I read that he replaced both dog bone fuses,and "overhauled" the solenoid.
I only question where the ignition module is getting it's power from.?Is there a wiring fu-fu at the solenoid?...It's just a starting point.
If you need,I can separate the color codes.


Yes! By "overhauled the solenoid" I meant I removed the dogbone fuse, cut away the remaining plastic, then used my Dremel to clean up all the rough edges and little protrusions that might chafe a wire. Anyway... The "fu-fu" was at the solenoid, but I'm still not totally out of the woods. :( When checking my wiring against the original pics of the solenoid I found I had placed the CFI lead on the wrong solenoid terminal. I moved it from the far right terminal to the terminal closest to the battery (the POS terminal???)



Now my bike starts as quickly as it did before (barely thumping the start button), and continues to run, however instead of a constant discharge I'm getting a steady reading of 12.15V at the battery & 11.5V at the on-board meter when idling @ 1400 rpm. After running a few minutes it slows the rpms down to about 1100 (as it did before when the battery was recharged), but the voltage drops to 12.03V at the battery and 11.4V at the on-board meter. These readings do not change even when I manually increase the rpm. In case it makes a difference here - the rpms fluctuate a little (about 100 - 150 rpms on either side of 1100) which is much better than before. They had been fluctuating 300-400 rpm.

I'm at a loss as to why the charging system seems to be somewhat holding it's own now, but not actually charging. I've checked the trunk light. It's off. While doing the wiring I checked the 3 yellow stator leads. They checked out ok. Also checked them at the regulator connector (which I replaced by hardwiring). Checked out ok there also.

Any suggestions or ideas as to what the problem is now?
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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:43 pm

I'll get to my computer later tonight, I'm on the road all day till Friday.
When you checked the stator wires,what tests were done that determined that it was OK?
I can spectate that the 2 meter readings are accurate.there are a couple more tests to do.
With the DVM,start the bike and measure for any volts from the battery negative POST to the engine block,an then to the green wires on the regulator.It should be 0.00 volts.if there is any volts,even a little,clean the ground cable lug at the frame.
You should be seeing above 13 volts when above 2500 rpm.
Assuming the stator is ok,about the only reason for low volts is a bad regulator.if the stator wires were arcing it may have damaged it.

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Re: Charging System Problem

Postby BikerNewsman » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:23 pm

First, the problem has been figured out. It's the regulator.

To answer your question about the Stator - First I checked all three yellow wires (near the solenoid and at the now non-existent plug to the regulator) for continuity to ground. There was none. Checked all 3 wires for continuity with each other, in all combinations. There was continuity between them. Finally checked all 3 wires for AC voltage. At 3,000 rpm +/- each wire combination averaged 70 VAC.

I did not check for voltage between the NEG post and the block. I'll do so tomorrow just to see what it shows.

One thing the re-wiring seems to have done was correct the battery drain with the key off. I left it connected overnight last night. The voltage read the same this morning as it did last night, about 12.5 volts. It had been showing about 13 volts but I didn't charge it yesterday afternoon. Never found anything that looked like it was causing that problem however. Go figure.


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