86 SEI not charging the battery


Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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djolesiak
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86 SEI not charging the battery

Postby djolesiak » Sat May 02, 2015 5:52 pm



I noticed a burning smell coming from under the top compartment. Then I noticed my voltage was running low around 11.3 while cruising. So I removed the top cover to investigate. I found one of the harness connectors going into the voltage regulator had burned up and one of the wires was no longer connected. It was one of the 3 yellow stator wires. So I did some testing to see what was going on. I removed the regulator and started the bike up. All 3 sets of windings were putting out 70 volts at 2500 rpm so the stator seems to be OK. Then I did a resistance test on the diodes in the regulator following the instructions in my Clymer manual. From Green to Yellow all 3 yellow wires tested infinity one way and continuity the other way. Using the diode test mode on my meter they all tested at 0.5 voltage drop. Then I tested red to yellow. All 3 tested infinity one way and 1.5 megaohms the other way which according to the book should be low resistance or 0 ohms. So based on my readings it would appear the yellow to red diodes are bad. However when I test them using the diode test mode they show 0.5 voltage drop.

So before repairing the burnt connector and putting the bike back on the road I'm going to order a replacement regulator/rectifier. I'm planning on getting a stock one from Honda so as to avoid future problems and solder the wires together and cover with heat shrink tubing like I did at the plug near the battery. Am I on the right track here?

My other question is when I did a leak down test between the battery and negative battery cable I'm showing 12 volts. Even with the regulator removed I still show 12 volts. What does this mean? The manual says it should be 0 volts.



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djolesiak
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Re: 86 SEI not charging the battery

Postby djolesiak » Mon May 04, 2015 3:02 pm

Oem regulator is no longer available so I ordered an aftermarket from Rick's. Should have it in a few days. My guess is the high resistance on the regulator caused the wire to burn.

My theory on the 12 volt reading at the battery negative cable has to do with the filter and or capacitor used on the SEI and Limited models. Since the capacitor and filter are both grounded it explains the reading. The 0 volts would only apply to the other models which lack the filter and capacitor.

I also ordered a plug and terminal kit from RA Stator to relace the burned one instead of soldering the wires for any future testing. Hopefully all will go well and I'll be back on the road soon. I attached a picture of the fried connector.
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Re: 86 SEI not charging the battery

Postby WingAdmin » Mon May 04, 2015 3:43 pm

A melted connector like that is not usually an indication of a problem with the regulator, it's an indication of a problem with the connector. The connector surfaces get corroded, start resisting power flow, which causes heat, which causes more corrosion, which causes more resistance, more heat, until things just melt (and burn!) like you see.

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djolesiak
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Re: 86 SEI not charging the battery

Postby djolesiak » Mon May 04, 2015 3:55 pm

Point taken on the corrosion. I was just thinking with all that power being produced by the stator and not being able to get through the regulator due to open diodes it may have had something to do with it. Hopefully the new aftermarket regulator will hold up. The Rick's brand has the highest customer rating and they're made in the USA so I think it will be fine. I'm just glad my stator is still OK.

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Re: 86 SEI not charging the battery

Postby WingAdmin » Tue May 05, 2015 10:52 am

djolesiak wrote:Point taken on the corrosion. I was just thinking with all that power being produced by the stator and not being able to get through the regulator due to open diodes it may have had something to do with it. Hopefully the new aftermarket regulator will hold up. The Rick's brand has the highest customer rating and they're made in the USA so I think it will be fine. I'm just glad my stator is still OK.


That's not how electricity works. You can't make "excess" current and force it through something that is not drawing it. The stator will only supply as much current as is being demanded by the regulator/rectifier - so if the regulator is not demanding any, the stator won't supply any, and no heat will result.

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djolesiak
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Re: 86 SEI not charging the battery

Postby djolesiak » Tue May 05, 2015 7:21 pm

Yes, you're right. That is what the electrical theory says. It just seems like the yellow stator wires like burning up on our Goldwings. The thing is they only carry around 2 amps so they shouldn't be getting hot from current. I've had problems with the 12 volt connectors on my bike getting corroded and not conducting but so far none of them have burned. On the other hand, my stator wires have burned at both ends. I'm just looking for answers.

On a side note, I disconnected the condenser and filter on the charging circuit on my bike and performed the leak down test again and this time I read 0 volts so that confirms they are what caused the 12 volt reading. I guess it's because the condenser doesn't have a bleed resistor so it holds the charge for a long time.

So if any one else has an SEI or Limited, disregard what the Clymer manual says about the leak down test. It only applies to the carbureted Interstates and Aspencades since they lack the computerized fuel injection they don't have the filter or condenser in their charging circuit. A better way to test for leakage on the fuel injected models is to put an amp meter inline with the negative terminal and look for amperage rather than voltage.

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Re: 86 SEI not charging the battery

Postby WingAdmin » Wed May 06, 2015 10:17 am

djolesiak wrote:Yes, you're right. That is what the electrical theory says. It just seems like the yellow stator wires like burning up on our Goldwings. The thing is they only carry around 2 amps so they shouldn't be getting hot from current. I've had problems with the 12 volt connectors on my bike getting corroded and not conducting but so far none of them have burned. On the other hand, my stator wires have burned at both ends. I'm just looking for answers.


It's not so much the amps, but the watts. Think about your hair dryer - the power it consumes in order to produce heat is measured in watts, regardless of the voltage.

Normal GL1200 bikes have 360 watt stators, while SE/SE-i GL1200's came with 500 watt stators. If the stator is supplying the full 500 watts (which it will be doing immediately after starting, to charge the battery), across three-phase AC at 60 volts, with a power factor of 1 (resistive - battery), that is 4.8 amps. 4.8 amps at 60 volts is 288 watts (but remember it's 3 phase), which is really the measure of power. 288 watts is quite a bit of power to put across those little connectors. That's why they heat up and melt when they get dirty and become the least bit resistive - they're essentially turning into the heating coil inside your hair dryer.

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djolesiak
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Re: 86 SEI not charging the battery

Postby djolesiak » Fri May 08, 2015 12:40 am

Got the new Rick's Regulator/Rectifier. I was a bit surprised to see that it was made in China, but then again, what isn't? The funny thing is, when I tested the new one, it shows open on all legs both ways. However, when I install it on the bike it works and keeps the voltage right at 14.5

I guess there must be a difference in the internal circuit as opposed to the OEM. The good thing is it came with the correct plugs already installed so it was a plug and play install.




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