Volt meters/ alternators


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Whopper Stopper
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Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:46 am
Location: Forest Lake MN
Motorcycle: 99 Goldwing SE

Volt meters/ alternators

Post by Whopper Stopper » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:39 am



Minnesota Greetings!

As the season is closing in on me I have a couple of question to pose to the many knowledgeable members of this excellent forum.

I have a 99 1500 SE. It only has 16000 miles on it but I was thinking this winter maybe I should swap out the alternator (stock) and put one in with a higher output. Two have been talked about on the forum. The Compu Fire and the LACTRICAL. I know there is a pretty good price difference in the two but curious which one you would all recommend? I make no bones about it money is tight however I could probably swing either one.

At this time I just have standard accessories however as time goes I plan on adding to the lighting etc. With a higher output alt will it be necessary to install a different battery instead of my stock unit?

Also what would you recommend (brand, or type) of a volt meter to install?

Thank You very much! This site is indispensable for the bike owner/ bike tinkerer.

WS



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flyinrob
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 10:48 am
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Motorcycle: 1996 Gl1500 Aspencade

Re: Volt meters/ alternators

Post by flyinrob » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:10 am

Hiya Whopper Stopper...

I installed an LAcrtical 85 amp alternator last year. It worked great for about a year then several months ago it began to fail. LActrical replaced it under warranty and it has been working just fine. Their customer service was very good and they sent me a new alternator as soon as they received the one I sent back. If or when this one gives up I will most likely replace it with another from them. I do carry a spare 40 amp Ken Hemings rebuilt with me.

I installed an analog (round guage with a needle) volt meter in my left front pocket wired directly to the battery with an inline fuse and wired through an on/off switch. I get a fairly accurate reading this way and can shut it off when the bike is off.

One last thing about the alternator. I show almost 14volts charging at idle and on Patriot Guard escorts runs with flashers on, cb on, riding very slow and rpm's low it still shows between 13.5 and 14.0 volts.

Hope this helps ya....

Rob

Also....about the battery. I bought a hundred buck AGM battery from the local auto parts store and it seems to work just fine. I went ahead and replaced the battery with the AGM after reading everyone mention needing that type of battery with the higher amp alternators.

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ct1500
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Re: Volt meters/ alternators

Post by ct1500 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:01 pm

Whopper Stopper wrote:Minnesota Greetings!

As the season is closing in on me I have a couple of question to pose to the many knowledgeable members of this excellent forum.

I have a 99 1500 SE. It only has 16000 miles on it but I was thinking this winter maybe I should swap out the alternator (stock) and put one in with a higher output. Two have been talked about on the forum. The Compu Fire and the LACTRICAL. I know there is a pretty good price difference in the two but curious which one you would all recommend? I make no bones about it money is tight however I could probably swing either one.

At this time I just have standard accessories however as time goes I plan on adding to the lighting etc. With a higher output alt will it be necessary to install a different battery instead of my stock unit?

Also what would you recommend (brand, or type) of a volt meter to install? WS
An alternator should not be considered off season work as it is easy to replace anytime-anywhere, it just might be inconveinient at the moment.

Your question on alternator replacement depends where you will be riding and how much. If just a commuter or staying within 100 miles or so from home keep the OEM in. If the mileage is correct you will likely go another 30k and if mine would start to think about servicing it at that time.

Thid is where a volt meter is handy and a must have in my book to be forwarned of trouble. Digital readout of actual volts is the best and of sufficent numeral size so as to be seen easily.

What kind of lighting (LED, incandescent) and how many extra amps will you be using determines the need for a different alternator.

I like AGM batteries because checking and adding water to wet cell sucks big time.

BTW this volt meter is off and reads .2V too high.
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Whopper Stopper
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:46 am
Location: Forest Lake MN
Motorcycle: 99 Goldwing SE

Re: Volt meters/ alternators

Post by Whopper Stopper » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:00 pm

Thank You both very much for the great information.

I eventually plan on getting some heated clothing and possibly changing out some bulbs with LED. The reason I was planning on tinkering in the winter months was simply because that's when I get time :) I do seasonal work and for 10 months out of the year we log 65+ hours a week. I have a hard time finding time for anything, hence the low mileage, yep it's accurate. The OEM seems to work fine as is, I just want to ward off any problems before they start.

Again the time you took to respond is much appreciated.

WS

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robb
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Re: Volt meters/ alternators

Post by robb » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:16 pm

I bought a 90 amp from Emsglobaldirect on ebay. Five years and it is still working flawlessly.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Top-Quality ... 57&vxp=mtr

Bought a volt meter that plugs into 12 volt socket, looks like one in link. It has been accurate to within 2/10 of my Fluke readings. Very viewable in all conditions.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-LCD-Cigaret ... 5731.m3795

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bstig60
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Re: Volt meters/ alternators

Post by bstig60 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:32 pm

The 99's had a Chinese made alternator and they were prone to early failure. Mine will drop down to 12.2 volts at idle and only charges at 13.7 at cruising speed. I plan on installing an LACTRICAL 85 amp replacement this winter as well as money and time permits. A long trip is in the planning stages for next year and I want a spare just in case. As for the volt meter, I added a new bridge that has a place for gauges and installed a 1 1/4 inch Volt Meter and USB charging port inside it. Works very well. Pic's uploaded. I plan to add a temp gauge if I can find one of the right size.
Bill

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coolrunning
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Re: Volt meters/ alternators

Post by coolrunning » Wed May 11, 2016 11:27 pm

I installed a Chrome Kuryakyn LED Volt Meter about 8 months ago and felt a little more confident about riding out of town with the ability to monitor the condition of my charging system. This little gadget is colorful with flashing red, yellow and one green LED in the center. I don't think it is all that accurate, but it is distracting. I find myself looking at it more than I should, and today I discovered it was outright lying to me. I thought I had lost either my alternator or possibly my battery or both considering it was showing reds and yellows as I had begun a three hour ride. I turned around and headed home to keep from getting stuck on the roadside. After checking the voltage at home, the good news was, the alternator, battery and the rest of my electrical system was just fine. It was the voltmeter that was wrong! Of course, by the time I realized that, my riding time was consumed and I was headed to work instead. It is now removed from my Wing and I am probably not going to install any other in its place. I have replaced nearly every significant light bulb on the bike with LEDs and the headlights are HIDs. I doubt that there is any issue with my OEM alternator handling the reduced electrical load. My mechanic told me his Valkyrie has the original alternator installed and has over 100,000 miles on it. I trust Honda engineering to make a system that is reliable enough to forego the addition of the aftermarket gadget I added on out of sheer fear.
Coolrunning

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wingdings
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Re: Volt meters/ alternators

Post by wingdings » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:23 pm

hi - why not try low led lighting on your bike ?? - leds burn mille volts - compared to the standard bulb - the more you can use leds the less power you will require - yes ?? - I am myself considering relying my headlight - that in its self will make it 30% brighter than the standard set up !! and better than paying silly money for plug and play too !! - other things to consider too is the wire and the wire lengths all have bearing on how much juice it will take to run the item - see below -

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Fiberthree
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Re: Volt meters/ alternators

Post by Fiberthree » Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:02 pm

The Stock alternator on my '99 SE failed back in 2004. The dealer replaced it with another stock unit and a year later I installed the Compufire 90 amp alternator. At the time the only game in town was the Compufire replacement. However the package included a new battery! Mine has been providing excellent service for these past eleven years. I have 169,000 miles on the bike and no electrical worries. I'm sure the Lactrical is just as good so it probably comes down to how much you want to spend.
Ed

WARNING: All posts are subject to influence from an uncontrollable dominant sarcastic gene. Offensive remarks may or may not be intentional.

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wingdings
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Re: Volt meters/ alternators

Post by wingdings » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:39 am

hi - have you checked the stator and the Rectifier Regulator ?? - these are all part of the charging system - too !! as for the ALTERNATOR - there are a lot of choices to be found on ebay - try this here is the item number - eBay item number:

360628354509 - cost is US $103.51 - you could try to replace the regulator rely before you do all that - the cost of that is - £18.70 a must cheaper option
lastly - why pay twice the price !! for a COMPU FIRE ALTERNATOR HD-1325 COMPU-FIRE - just because its 90amps - they still go wrong they are not super alternators - a much cheaper thing to do is get rid of the space junk and the disco lights !! ( ring of fire - etc - ) its a motor bike not a 80"s disco !! lol - yes be seen and be safe - however don't turn a safety item into a over looked part of the lights when a car diver cannot tell the difference !! yes ??- change the bulbs over to leds ( which burn mille volts ) instead . the more you led the less strain on the charging system one thing I am considering doing is relying the head light to give 30% more light than what it does now

however if you are really hell bent on getting one here is one I found one on ebay - for you -eBay item number:
182269826641 - cost - US $199.99
hope this all helps - too !!....

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CrystalPistol
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1997 GL1500SE Lehman Trike

Re: Volt meters/ alternators

Post by CrystalPistol » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:19 pm

We bought the Trike in 2004, the month after we bought the Air Rider gear indicator / volt meter at the Rally in Salem. Wife wanted the gear indicator, I wanted the volt meter part. It alerted me to a fault with a winding in the Comp-u-fire alternator while leading a group ride for several days when I pulled in at a gas stop noticing volts was dropping. It enabled me to monitor battery condition as I took a "jump charge" every so often from there to the motel 73 miles further south. One of the group had a leg in cast and was in his 4 wheeler so the group went on ahead and he and I and a third would ride along until my volt meter got below 10-9.5 and I'd pull over and he'd pull up beside me and I'd hook cables up and get a charge, then I'd start it and go again. Had to run some lights, it was rainy / foggy on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Would go about 10-13 miles to the jump, I tried laying off the brakes as I had a trailer too and those lights.

Trike died as I pulled into motel at Benge Gap, buddy in group had a spare OEM, I swapped next AM, and while he offered a battery, I tried just starting it with the "dead" Odyssey AGM that was in it .... fired right up!

But the Volt Meter let me do that without swapping out an alternator in the rain or running it until I didn't have a place to pull over. I do have the volt meter two leads wired through an ignition switch / accy controlled relay, though for years it was wired exactly like Air Rider said in instructions behind a right fairing light.

Alternator was repaired with off the shelf rotor at local rebuilder's shop and other tending under $100. I have a spare now as well that I carry on trips .... but no more issues. That "Odyssey that was new in Aug 2004 .... is still good but I replaced it Spring 2016 .... I use the old one as a portable power source and what not now.

Likewise, in the '90s it was a Sun Pro 12VDC Volt Meter that alerted me when my '85 GL1200's stator developed a fault on a ride .... and let me monitor it and see that it was putting out enough at highway speed, just not at reduced speed.
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