1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?


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pierrax02
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1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby pierrax02 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:37 am



Hello,

I think my goldwing 1992 seems to have an electrical problem. When I stopped at a light (a few seconds) when I apply the brakes my light decreases. The bike has even stopped once or twice.

Could it be just a battery problem, alternator or worse?

Thanks in advance for your help!



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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:06 am

When you put the brakes on, ALL the lights on the bike get dim? And the bike sometimes stalls?

Well if there was a short in the brake lights that drew enough current to do that, fuses should be blowing. So I'm going to assume that your battery is weak, and/or your charging system is not working correctly.

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby pierrax02 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:33 am

My battery is only one year old.
Not only my head light but every lights (dash, radion, etc...) decrease.

Could it by a good thing to change the alternator and see if it solves the problem? Is different alternator's amperage realy change something (40 vs 90)?
On a 1992 Goldwing could it be "normal" to change the alternator?

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redial
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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby redial » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:51 pm

First off, even though your battery is 12 months old, and you would expect it to last longer than that, if it is not being fully charged, then it will deteriorate more than you would like.

Secondly, you should check the alternator charging rate, to see if it is performing correctly. Just because it is dimming, might mean it just needs a clean, or the brushes need replacing. Check out the earthing points, as often they can become rusted up, and cleaning the point of contact with the frame will ensure that a good electrical circuit can exist. You should also put some dielectric grease on these points, after you have cleaned them and tightened them up. This grease will assist in helping to stop further contamination of the points of contact.

If you do not have additional loads on your alternator, like heated seats, grips, body suit, and helmet :roll: , then you should be able to operate normally with the standard alternator. If on the other hand, you have more lights than Las Vegas, then you may need a bigger unit to keep up with the current draw. As WingAdmin has pointed out else where, you can calculate the draw of the additional (electrical) suckers, so that you can then work out if you have enough amps.

Working any piece of machinery to its full capacity, all the time, while shorten its life. If you are working your alternator really hard trying to get it to power up Las Vegas, then yes, you should consider a larger capacity alternator.

But do the cleaning first, then check, and work out if you are operating okay.
Len in Kapunda

The world is not going to finish today, as it is already tomorrow in Australia and New Zealand, and other islands of foreign nations such as Guam and Samoa.

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:08 pm

I would check everything that has already been stated. A battery for any use, automotive, boat, motorcycle can have issues at any time. We come to expect long life from them, because on average, they tend to last a reasonable amount of time. But, like anything electrical, it can fail sooner, or later, and with or without warning.

Regarding the alternator size. On my bike, I had changed the headlights to the more standard auto H4 bulbs that are 55/60 watts. This is an increase of 10-15 watts over the stock bulbs at 45/45 watts that the bike was designed around, and there are 2 of them. That's an increase of 20-30 watts total. I also changed my 'driving' lights, or 'cornering' lights (that are set to constantly on) to bulbs that are 35 watts each. The stocks are 25 watts. That another increase of 10 watts each, or a total of 20 watts. I also added some LEDs to the saddlebags, trunk, and 'ground effect' lights. The LEDs are a negligible load, but do add some extra wattage.

Anyway, with minor improvements such as the headlights and cornering lights, which are pretty common upgrades, you've possibly added an extra 50 watts to an electrical system that was probably close to maxed out when it rolled off the assembly line. I ran the stock alternator on my bike for about 1.5 years like that. It too, also dimmed the lights when applying the brakes. I also could see the headlights, actually all lights, increase in brightness when revving the engine, indicating that the system was not keeping up at idle. That alternator died this past January. I replaced it with an 85A output alternator, and all those issues went away.

If you are actually stalling the bike when applying the brakes, you more than likely have a faulty battery, and/or alternator. The higher output alternator is the way to go. It keeps the battery happy under all practical loads and rpms, including idle speed.

One side note. I did also replace my position lights with brighter LEDs, and finally replaced my incandescent brake and tail lights with equally bright LEDs. Both of those changes saved some amperage load on my system. Before the old stock alternator died, my brake light dimming issue had stopped with the substitution of the LEDs. However, I still had the brightness increase at the headlights when revving the engine.

My point is, that even with 'minor' wattage increases, like headlights and cornering lights, the electrical system can be underpowered by the stock alternator. If you need a new one, I would jump to an 80A or 90A replacement. Your lights and your battery will thank you.

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Mh434 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:28 pm

My '97 1500 did the same thing, even with a new battery, on the original alternator. My bike has accessory brake lights, some of which are not LED's, and they add quite a bit of load to the already-taxed alternator. My lights dimmed noticeably when I had the brake lights on at idle.

In the end, I replaced the alternator with a 95-amp LActrical unit (direct bolt-in) which, at idle, has output than the OEM one did at maximum. Some OEM ones even seem to be losing charge at idle - which would certainly dim your lights when the brake lights are on. I also bought a new AGM battery at the same time. I have lots of juice now, and the lights never dim anymore.

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby pierrax02 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:02 pm

Wow! Thank you.
I always read the forum but first time I have to post. All great reading.

I will see what can I do for the alternator, if I could find one near me.
Is there any test I can do to check the battery?

By the way, I got my goldwing for one yeat now (I'm realy pleased by!). Could you guys suggest me minor changes (like headlights bulbs upgrade) that could just improve how much I love my goldwing? ahahah everyone laughing at me, I'm 28 and I ride a goldwing but they don't know what they're missing!

Thank you all!

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:31 am

If you are still using the OEM headlight bulbs, they are only 45W, both high and low beams. A cheap, easy upgrade would be to use standard Sylvania 9003 XtraVision bulbs. They are the same wattage, and amperage as the more expensive, fancier 9003 bulbs, only much less expensive. They would drop right into the headlight fixture on your '92 with no modifications. The gain would be an additional 10W on low beam, and 15W on high beam. It is a very noticeable improvement in night vision. There are other alternatives, such as LED, but from what I've read so far, they have not perfected the 'focusability' of the LED headlights, and night vision suffers. Then there are HID bulbs, that apparently are focusable, on the better kits, with both high and low beam capability. However, if you choose to add a headlight modulator (don't know if they are legal in Canada), HID is not compatible.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/16913621?wmls ... 88&veh=sem

Do a search on the forums. there is plenty of info on the different lighting options for the whole bike.

This is the alternator I went with. Easily fits in the space available.

http://www.amazon.com/LACTRICAL-ALTERNA ... alternator

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Dogsled » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:30 am

Bluewater;
Do you still have your old alternator as a back-up? From reading up on the one you bought there was alot of wiring modifications to the alt hook-up. I got my totally rebuilt Simpro from Ken Heming and can just switch out OEM to simpro and back because I didn't have to modify anything. Having a good alternator backup is important and them being so easy to change, I keep my oem rebuilt Heming boxed and ready to ship overnight if anything goes down.
The Simpro had bad ratings as they came from the factory but the LAetrical was marine grade and highly recommened for quality. The only difference is a Heming rebuilt steps you up to a new level for the simpro and reliability. At an idle with a crazy load of lights and other electrical stuff (no heaters) i've never dropped below 13.1....You do need a glass mat battery to handle it but this is like a new bike. I didn't like several things about the compufire so decided against it....i'm sure other swear by it.
It seems electrical is the only problem I've ever had with my wing. Good luck and do your research, I never realized after all these years of fretting low voltage I can ride carefree.....Honda surely did under rate their OEM alternators......but the motor quality makes up for it all.
"Fight until hell freezes over, then fight on the ice"

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:53 pm

Dogsled,
I still have the OEM. The rotor is the problem, and is not cheaply repairable. I've been looking for a used OEM alternator or rotor in the 'wanted' sections, in order to repair mine, but no luck. I'm sure Ken Hemming could repair it, but I don't want to spend that much for a backup that isn't adequate from the start. I've been spoiled now with an alternator that does its job well. Will probably wind up getting another Lactrical as a backup. Only reason I haven't as yet, was my initial experience with the first Lactrical I got from them. It had issues. They replaced it, somewhat grudgingly. But that spooked me a bit regarding their product. The replacement has been fine for the past 2+ months, now.

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Dogsled » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:44 pm

BW Hooker,
Now that makes 100% sense. We seem to have different situations. You don't have a reliable back-up and I do. I had read so many good things about Lactrical it was truly my 1st choice other than the fact that I had a perfectly good spare already to cover me in an emergency situation. I don't really think you need a back-up soon with a lactrical, they are so highly rated in the marine world, you'll prolly ride for years on yours. I had the OEM and Kan gave me a good price on the simpro, I figured why not. It all depends on if you trust the person that rebuilt the unit you're buying.
You evidently have the Hitachi alternator that requires the rotor issue be address and it's smart not to even think of going back. I will tell you with seeing the amp numbers at idle with the simpro compared to oem I would only go back long enough to repair or replace with a high output. Many a night on the freeway my digital D&M voltmeter read 11.6 at freeway speed running no special auxilliary devices.
You're only a smart man if you have another lactrical spare waiting to go in........Or you're a side of the road genius that can rewire another alt like a compufire after you've done the Lactrical rework. For the price, I think two lactricals are well worth having over any conversion if you don't have a spare. I think you're spot on in your down the road thinking.........we'll never get used to OEM again....... :lol: Ride safe and have a great year
"Fight until hell freezes over, then fight on the ice"

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby pierrax02 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:58 am

I'm reading a lot about alternators and I often see Compufire.
What I can see is there are twice the price of the Lactrical (85 Amp).
http://www.amazon.com/LACTRICAL-ALTERNATOR-Goldwing-Aspencade-Interstate/dp/B008EBCFSC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429594325&sr=8-2&keywords=lactrical+goldwing+alternator

I'm kinda new to these things, is there a real difference between them? Do I have to change wiring for one or the other? For both of them, do I have to change the fuse?

I realy want to do this all by myself but I don't want to mess everything on my wing!

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Dogsled » Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:06 pm

Supposedly they are the same alternator body. The only one that I can see that totally sucked was Hondas OEM. So let's leave that dog lie.

You can believe what Compufire tells you or believe the laws of electricity. The first thing that brought enlightenment to me was Compufires addition of the double 55amp fuse. Not a smart idea. 110 amp fused system on a bike built for 55 amp wiring is no way smart.
Next you have to say I want to go 90 amp and learn how to split your power distribution so that everything runs through that 55 amp main fuse. You beef up wiring for additional drain and create a totally different system for your add ons.

Go to You Tube and read (and actually learn (what amps volts and all the things that make a charging system function as one unit). I burned up alot of stuff before I realized I had tolearn what I was doing. If you want a wing and need more juice and the internet tells you a compufire is the way to go without you doing anything but installing it......you will be doing yourself a disservice........

never seen a wing on the side of the road with anything other than electrical issues........you have to be able to diagnose this bike.
"Fight until hell freezes over, then fight on the ice"

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:17 pm

I went the Lactrical route after reading many comments about the reliability of the Compufire alternators. I am pretty certain that the Lactricals are Chinese made. The Compufires are supposedly based on a GM Saturn alternator, if I remember right. If so, they would be repairable with available parts. The Lactricals, probably not. However, given the cost difference between the two, I figured it was a toss up, considering the reliability of the Compufire.

Regarding the 55A fuse, I fall in the category that says it's crazy to double it to 110A on a bike designed around, and wired for 55A. One thing about electrical supplies of any sort. They only deliver the amperage that is 'demanded' from them. So, if you have an 85A alternator, and the demand is only 2A, that's all it is putting out. The alternator may be capable of 85A, but that is not necessarily what it cranks out. If the bike should, for some reason, demand 75A (like maybe a short somewhere), the fuse system will protect the wiring and burn the fuse, not the wiring. That's assuming you haven't arbitrarily increased any fuse ratings. Thus the reason for not doubling the 55A dogbone. That's my understanding of electricity, and I'm sticking to it. I repair air conditioners for a living, and have for 25 years. We deal with wiring and fused circuits, and motors and circuits that draw between 1.5A - 60A.

Regarding the alternator connection to the old system wiring. The little white plug in the photos of the alternators that you see, are 2-pin plugs, of which only 1 wire and connecter is used. That is the 'exciter' wire which tells the alternator how much electricity is needed at any point in time. It is a pretty low amperage connection and wire. A matching plug is buried in the plastics of the left side of the bike. Rather than tear the bike apart to access the OEM plug, I simply attached another matching plug (male or female, I forget which) at the end of the accessible wire near the alternator. Then make my connection at that point. No incompatibility issues, no disassembly of the bike when the alternator needs to be replaced. The plugs are available from Cyclemax at the link below. They are handy to use for other lighting additions you might put on the bike, allowing for easy disconnection.

http://cyclemax.com/inc/sdetail/2_wire_ ... /129/36020

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Mh434 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:48 pm

I was led to believe that the LActrical alts are also off-the-shelf Saturn car alternators with new, CNC-machined front plates to mate to the Honda drive. My recollection is that my LActrical prominently has "Made in USA" stamped on it, which pleased me. In fact, I understand that, if there's an issue with one (past warranty), the end plate can be mounted onto a stock replacement Saturn alternator. That, I like, as these can be sourced easily almost anywhere in North America, at reasonable cost.

I've only had mine for 9 months or so, but it's been flawless so far - it sure does give peace of mind when the voltage never drops below 13.8V, even with all my doodads, gizmos, whatsits and thingamabobs turned on.

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:58 pm

MH434,
I'd love to find out that is true. And, maybe for the 95A Lactrical, it is. I know it looks a lot like a Compufire. I was basing the Chinese origin on the 85A that I received. The Lactrical folks were a little less than forthcoming in the conversations I had with them. I don't think I asked them that question directly, but in dealing with the issue I had with my first 85A unit, their responses were less than reassuring. There is another company, in Kentucky I believe, named DB Electrical, that sells a version that looks a lot like the Lactricals. I did email them directly, and they confirmed that their unit was Chinese, and parts were not available. As I'm sure you have seen, there are many identical products, of all sorts, being sold by various companies, under different brand names, but all sourced from the same manufacturers. That is what I believe is the case with all the different offerings for our uses. DB appears to be a legitimate company, with an established office, that has apparently been around for 20+ years. I get the impression that Lactrical is a company of I don't know how many years, working out of some warehouse space in California. These days, it is too easy to pick up quantities of product from China, set up an electronic store front, and then proceed to ship the product out the door until the supply runs out. Then close up shop. I assumed this was the case with Lactrical, going in. The sad fact is that the GM Saturn alternators may also be made in China, as so many, if not most things, are these days.
From everything I have read, the CNC machined plates, and Saturn alternator guts, is apparently true of the Compufire. I have not seen any such info regarding the Lactrical. If you confirm that, I would like to hear about the details, specifically what particular GM alternator is the base of the Lactrical. I've done a lot of reading and researching regarding replacement alternators for the GL1500. This is all the info I have at this time.

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Dogsled » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:51 pm

Saturn?????? I like to think of the alterantor as being multi versal with the nose to match the vehicle. Notice they ALL have the same 3 bolt pattern. I went with the simpro because of the closest matching wiring connection to OEM.....I really liked LACATREL's marine background and it's history of reliability. The only Alt that fit the bill was the 40 amp OEM hitachi that honda cheaped out on for a bike of that caliber and potential as a touring bike.
MY REASONS FOR CHOOSING THE SIMPRO

The OEM was totally underpowered BUT the bike was built on the wiring harness handling the 40 amp system.

Ramp up to a touring bike to handle the newer electrics and you have something, other than the stock wiring wasn't mean't to handle that type of power

Everybody jumped on compufire cause it was the first to come out and start curining the woeful LACK of power yet not able to handle theadded power in the stock harness.

I wanted to ramp up and used the people I trusted to tell me , not what to buy, but what I needed to ramp up. If you saw my wiring now compared to 3 years ago we'd see two different animals.

I like Lacatrel for it's background......screw somebody claiming china or USA. I bought Simpro cause Ken H. built it for me, I can take that to the bank. Study and learn/learn and study the basics of the alternator and what it does in the wing. The test here is to make sure when it fails on the road you'll be able to diagnose the problem and get back to riding.

My choice in order of quality from just what I read
1. Lacatrel
2. Simpro
3. OEM
4. Compufire

everybody has an opinion and a reason for it
"Fight until hell freezes over, then fight on the ice"

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby seelyark1 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:57 am

I seem to remember something about the Saturn fit, but I was thinking that it was just the rotor and not the whole alternator. Now I'm gonna have to go looking for it again. :lol: They say that the memory is the first thing to go :lol:
Ride safe, and smart. Asphalt is like #1 grit sandpaper. Dave

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Re: 1992 GL 1500 - electrical problem?

Postby Dogsled » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:25 pm

I assume all the aftermarket alts were built off the Saturn body. I think Lactrical mentioned they had the cnc nose made special after they found a market for the wing. Today, finding someone to cnc a new nose isn't what it was 10 or 20 years ago. I found you need to dig deeper. See what this extra output means to the oem system and build from there. After everthing I read Compufire lost their credibility when the tried to make people believe the simple matter of doubling up the 55 amp bone would rectify all problems........ I'm still a student of the volt/amp/system.....you should be too if you're involved with this post......... Honestly, this crap gives me a headache......but better now than on the road.


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