Lactrical vs Compufire


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Bobsiler
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Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bobsiler » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:30 pm



I've read some recent posts and the Lactrical brand alternator came up a couple of times. I was about ready to pull the trigger on a Compufire soon but the price always holds me back.
Compufire 90amp set up is $375 and the Lactrical 85amp is $147 on Amazon. BIG difference! My question is for those of who went with the Lactrical no problems? Did it come with upgraded fuses or did you have to source those elsewhere? They dont seem to offer one for an '88 1500, I had to drill out the bolt holes on Chinese brand I'm running at the moment which is working but I have a 2500 mile road trip planned in June and want to take care if this before I head out.



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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:13 pm

I installed an 85A in January of 2015. The first one shipped had an odd whining noise, and a vibration that I was concerned about, I ordered another, a week later, and shipped back the questionable one. It was much quieter, but still exhibited a bit of a vibration. It's been on the bike for almost 7K miles, with no incident. Recent discussions on the forum have mentioned the vibration, as well as comments on Amazon. I have come to believe that the higher output alternators are prone to that issue. The most recent discussion mentioned that the original poster rotated the drive mechanism 90 degrees, remounted it, and seemed to solve his issue. Can't verify or debate that solution, and have no clue why it would have any effect on the noise. But I may try it at some point. I've become accustomed to it in the 1000-2000 RPM range, and don't really notice it anymore. Overall, it works great. I get a constant 13.8-14V output, that keeps my battery in great shape. I also considered the Compufire, but after reading reviews and comments, decided it had no more reliability than a Chinese knock-off like the Lactrical, but at 1/3 the cost. I upgraded nothing in the electrical system, fuses, etc. It is my belief that the wiring system is designed around the stock dogbone fuse, and others, and upgrading that fuse would be dangerous, or at least hazardous. It has not been an issue. I've read of the need to drill the holes for the 88-89 models, and it is apparently pretty standard practice. I, as have others, replaced the rubber dampers with new alternator. It is recommended with any new unit. Since you have a working alternator, I would suggest bringing it with you, as a backup, in case of failure on the road. They are not easy to come by, and not very difficult to change on the side of the road or in a hotel parking lot. Just determine what tools you need, and bring them along. My experience has been good with the 85A Lactrical. Good luck.
NOTE: You mentioned Chinese alternators. To my knowledge, all of the aftermarket, or for that matter OEM alternators are of Chinese origin, except for maybe the Compufire. It is supposedly based on a Delco alternator. However, in this day and age, the Delco's may also be Chinese. But, the Delco might be easier to repair, as the parts are much more accessible. I just had my old OEM alternator repaired, rewound rotor and new voltage regulator, in Clearwater, FL. It took me a year to find someone who did that. The OEM is based on a Hitachi that parts are available for. It is serving as my backup in an emergency.

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flyinrob
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby flyinrob » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:10 am

I installed an LActrical 85amp back in Sep 2014 I believe. It work great for about 10 months or so then stopped charging at the rate it had been. It ended up only charging in the 12.9 to 13.2 range. I sent it back to them and they sent me a new one. It has been working fine ever since.

It also has a bit of a growl in the 1000 to 2000 range, usually only noticable when accelerating up through the gears. Also, I did not increase the fuse. I did not double the dog bone fuse as others have. It is working just fine as it is.

I do carry a spare Ken Hemings 40 amp alt in the trunk.

Rob

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Bobsiler
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bobsiler » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:03 am

Thank you, sounds like I'll give it shot. I can keep the one i have for back up.

Dogsled
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Dogsled » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:22 am

flyinrob; doesn't the Lacatril require fairly extensive rewiring which would make the 40 amp in your trunk and ordeal on the road? I got a Ken Hemings high output and it's been running great and the wiring change wasn't drastic so I can throw my 40 amp back in pretty easy.
Was Lacatril the alt. that is used in marine applications? I heard they're real high quality. Sometime even the best of things break.
I like the fact I have Kens Phone number and if I break down with a little time to spare he can ship me replacement asap...(I hope. :o ).. He's a good guy to know and buy from.
"Fight until hell freezes over, then fight on the ice"

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Bobsiler
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bobsiler » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:49 am

The one offered on Amazon is specific to the Goldwing. Looks more or less stock in appearance. Doesn't look like rewiring would be needed.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B008EBCFS ... ref=plSrch

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:23 am

Bobsiler wrote:The one offered on Amazon is specific to the Goldwing. Looks more or less stock in appearance. Doesn't look like rewiring would be needed.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B008EBCFS ... ref=plSrch


The one pictured on Amazon, is not what the 85A looks like. That was my hope as well. It is larger, as would be expected of a higher output unit. However, fitment is not an issue. Mine was no more difficult to install than the OEM. Also, according to their nomenclature, be sure you are ordering one from Lactrical, and not another supplier. They will only warranty one ordered from them. Somehow, others are offering their alternator, or at least calling it the same thing. The SELLER will be listed as Lactrical. Don't forget the rubber dampers.
Rewiring of any kind is not needed.
Well, I take that back. If you are ordering the rubbers from Cyclemax, do yourself a favor and get a pack of the 2-pin connectors they sell. Then you can simply cut the little "exciter" wire and splice in the new unit without tearing the bike apart. That makes it much easier for future change-outs as well. They are 2-pin connectors, identical to the OEM, using only one wire (conductor) of the 2 pins.

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

http://cyclemax.com/inc/sdetail/gl1500_ ... /129/29165

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Bobsiler
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bobsiler » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:48 pm

The 95 amp sold by Lactrical is $134 still not bad. The only thing i don't see is a place to mount the cb filter.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/ol/B008KSIO ... dition=new

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Wingsconsin » Wed Mar 30, 2016 2:52 pm

I had the Compufire on my '96 GL1500.
It lasted 100,000 miles without any maintenance - I then sent it to Ken Heming for a tune-up..
It didn't need it -- but I did it anyway as I wanted to go another 100,000 miles with it.
The maintenance interval for the Compufire is non-existent --
They WORK - period - Change the dampeners when you install a new one to help mitigate the vibrations that may occur (any brand).
But save the $$ if you want -- the Compufire is tested and proven reliable by many riders over many miles.
Just my 2¢
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Big Bob » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:02 pm

After 2 failed attempts to rebuild my stock alternator from a local and recommended shop I didn't want to drop the $500 on a Compu fire alternator and battery, so I let the internet do the work and found a 40A replacement from a place called obbstartersandalternators.com, they have both a 40A and a 90A available. Just checked the website, they now cost $149 -40A, and $233 for the 90A version. I'm now starting year 4 with the cheaper 40A version, a very minor winding sound comes from it but charges and keeps my battery working at peak capacity. I would purchase another one from them no question, they have a warehouse here in MN so when I ordered iton a Wednesday a.m., it was on my doorstep the next afternoon, free shipping in the USA too. I kept the original alternator (rebuilt for 3rd time) as a spare, I have no faith in it for long term, that's why I purchased the new one. I now have somewhere around 20K on it no problems!! :D

Bob
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby flyinrob » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:22 pm

Dogsled wrote:flyinrob; doesn't the Lacatril require fairly extensive rewiring which would make the 40 amp in your trunk and ordeal on the road? I got a Ken Hemings high output and it's been running great and the wiring change wasn't drastic so I can throw my 40 amp back in pretty easy.
Was Lacatril the alt. that is used in marine applications? I heard they're real high quality. Sometime even the best of things break.
I like the fact I have Kens Phone number and if I break down with a little time to spare he can ship me replacement asap...(I hope. :o ).. He's a good guy to know and buy from.



You have to plug in one wire into a junction under the plastic where the reverse lever is. I wired in a spade connection on the visible wire by the alternator so all I have to do is unplug the wire from my connection. I had already anticipated having to change this out on the road so I made it as easy as possible. The LActrical alternator is working just fine and it is nice to see 13.9 to 14.1 volts at idle. I do a lot of Patriot Guard rides and going slow, with the 4 way flashers on, CB on, fans running, it is nice to be charging at close to 14 volts. If this one pukes I will get another one from them.

Rob

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:31 pm

The spade wiring connection referred to above, is the same connection I was suggesting the use of the 2-pin connectors from Cyclemax. The reason I suggest the 2-pin connector, is that it will match the plug that comes with whatever alternator you purchase. If you make the connection with the 2-pin plug, you will make no modifications to the new alternator, thus avoiding any possible warranty issues, should the need arise. From an electrical standpoint, it makes no difference how you make that connection. But if you send back an alternator with a hacked up exciter wire, you may be denied warranty.

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bobsiler » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:39 pm

I actually already made a jumper wire when i put in the alternator im running now. I had read it in a thread and had a partial harness for parts that i used a connector from. No more having to pull loose the side shelter. I appreciate everyones input. Im still going to give the Lactrical a shot. $200 is a big difference. Still need to do both tires in the next month or so as well.

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby hugger-4641 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:52 am

I just purchased a 90amp from DBelectrical for about $150 and installed it. I'll let you know how it performs. It was a little larger than the stock alternator but it went in fine. I suspect it is actually an automobile alternator with the mounting flange changed to a gl1500 set up. It had a slightly different plug configuration, but it had the capacitor already installed and had the two pin plug and a foot of lead already attached, so it just plugged right in, no problems. Has anyone else here tried these alternators?

My stock 40amp had the typical bad rotor and I repaired it about 3yrs ago. There is a thread here in the "how to articles" that explains how I repaired it and the title is "how to rewind a gl1500 alternator". The repaired rotor has well over 40k miles after the repair and is actually still fine, but the regulator went out and the brushes and slip rings are worn, so I'm going to replace all that plus bearings and keep it for a spare. I have to wonder if the repair shop that Big Bob posted about actually checked the rotor. But you can get cheap and/or defective brushes and regulators when you buy parts, so that may have been what happened.
You can find new OEM 40amp alternators online for $100 or so, but I don't recommend getting one of those unless you are prepared to deal with the faulty rotor issue. I bought one of these for a friend because he needed it quick and it lasted about 10k miles before the rotor went bad in it. Fortunately, I had made the same repair to his old one that I made to mine, but now I have to fix the one we just took off. No problem if you are close to home, have the tools I have, and the time to do it, but ain't no fun if it goes out while you are on a trip because NO BODY but Ken Hemming and myself seems to know or wants to know how to fix these rotors! I probably asked 20 different shops about this before I finally decided to do it myself. Unless you are a glutton for tinkering, don't buy one of these cheap OEM's.

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Dusty Boots » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:00 am

Wingsconsin wrote:I had the Compufire on my '96 GL1500.
It lasted 100,000 miles without any maintenance - I then sent it to Ken Heming for a tune-up..
It didn't need it -- but I did it anyway as I wanted to go another 100,000 miles with it.
The maintenance interval for the Compufire is non-existent --
They WORK - period - Change the dampeners when you install a new one to help mitigate the vibrations that may occur (any brand).
But save the $$ if you want -- the Compufire is tested and proven reliable by many riders over many miles.
Just my 2¢



You're Lucky!

I have burned out 2 Compufires. :evil:
1st lasted about what you have on yours now, while the 2nd one I bought only lasted about 45,000 miles before it went belly up, just over the 1 year replacement guarantee.
Upside is that all/most capable auto electric shops can repair them.

Think I'll be trying a Lactrical next time my Compufire gives me grief!

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby NVSB4 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:39 am

Like you I did research when my alternator went out and chose the Lactrical over the others.
It's been great so far and less than half the price.
Just make sure that you have an AGM battery with any higher output.
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bobsiler » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:45 am

I bought an AGM battery last Oct when i put in the Chinese alt i have now. My stock was on the way out and i picked up the chinese version in Ebay for $40 shipped to me. It was brand new in the box , the guy had for a spare but had sold his 1500. Got me buy but i wouldnt want to be far from home with it.

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby hugger-4641 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:20 am

Those things are hit and miss. Might last you for years, or might last for a few months. Either way, when it goes out, it will most likely be the rotor that goes bad, which means practically no alternator shops can repair it. I would send it to Ken and let him rebuild it before it goes out, or buy an upgrade and just keep that one for a spare. Just my opinion! 8-)

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Big Bob » Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:49 pm

hugger-4641, it's been a couple of years now so I don't remember if the rotor was fixed or replaced! The shop that did the work is strictly an alternator/starter/electrical motor rebuild shop. They have been there for years, neighbor of mine has had several alternators rebuilt there(car/truck) but another winger also recommended the shop to me. At $150 to be rebuilt, and I tried 2 times, with problems twice, after rebuild #3, I did install it and run it but I had lost all confidence in it, and we had a trip looming in the near future so trying a new alternator for $129 seemed like a good answer at the time! And to this date it is still working just fine, I'm not a huge mechanical kind of guy, so rebuilding it myself was not an option, r&r the alternator not so bad, and after several r&r's with the first one I was doing the job in less than 1/2 hour start to finish!! :D

Bob
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby hugger-4641 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:15 am

You'd be surprised how easy they are to re-build Bob. It just takes someone who knows how to teach you. But if you aren't the kind that enjoys that sort of thing, then it's just another source of frustration, kind of like golf is for me, Lol. But I hear what you are saying and I had the same experience locally. There are a couple excellent alternator repair shops in my area that I have done business with over the years. I've had starters and alternators for my cars, tractors, trucks, and motorcycles repaired by them and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to someone. These guys know how to check the rotor and will tell you straight up if it is bad or not without ripping you off. But you're on your own after that or else they will order a new rotor for you because they don't have the ability to fix them or even bench test them.

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Fatboy46 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 5:27 pm

looked up the AMAZON LAtrical alternator- looked for one "by LAtrical" .. found it.. but seller is EagleHigh? Am I missing something?

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 7:49 pm

Attached are 2 screenshots of Amazon order pages. The one for the Lactrical 40A alternator states that it must be purchased from "THE LACTRICAL STORE" for the 1 year warranty. When I bought the 85A version over a year ago, it also stated the same thing. The new page says: "FULL ONE YEAR WARRANTY: Note,If purchased LActrical brand Only", which makes no sense, as that is what they are selling.
In both cases, if you look to the lower right side of the screen, the same alternator is available FROM LACTRICAL, SHIPPED BY LACTRICAL, for a slightly higher, or the same price. That is the one I would buy, to avoid any future warranty issue from a reseller or Lactrical.
My guess regarding the discrepancy, is that these are Chinese alternator imports. Lactrical has been selling them for a while, and as such has developed a bit of "brand recognition". So, my guess is that the other sellers are importing the same unit from the same supplier, but calling them Lactrical, to cash in on the name recognition. It may or may not be the same unit, but I bet if you ship the alternator purchased from the other guys, back to Lactrical for warranty.....it ain't gonna happen. Then you may, at best, be stuck with a bunch of shipping charges to get it back, and reship it to the other guys. Or, at worst, stuck with no warranty at all from the other guys. So, to be safe, order it from, and shipped by, Lactrical.

Unfortunately, Amazon has become something akin to Ebay, regarding the legitimacy of branded products. As all the junk is coming from China, it may or may not make a difference regarding the actual item you receive. But sometimes, it does. You can see comments in many Amazon reviews regarding folks who received other than what was described or ordered, and the lack of quality of what is sometimes shipped. It's buyer beware, in these days of everybody and his brother, selling stuff out of their garage or apartment. Amazon seems to stand by most purchases, but for a very limited time frame. So, you want to be sure you are buying the correct item, from the correct seller, when a longer term warranty is important.

As a footnote. If you look at these 2 listings, you will see the 2 items appears identical. I don't know what the 40A unit looks like. These both appear to be OEM units. I bet the 40A unit doesn't look like what is pictured, but I KNOW the 85A does not look as pictured, because I got one. It fits, and works great, but the picture, it is not. They are probably both just stock photos, the seller put in the ads. A bit misleading.
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Bobsiler
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bobsiler » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:58 am

Fatboy46 wrote:looked up the AMAZON LAtrical alternator- looked for one "by LAtrical" .. found it.. but seller is EagleHigh? Am I missing something?


I just ordered the one from Lactrical. I should have it in a week. It is a 95amp and was $165 with tax and shipping. This link pulls up a list of 4 sellers. The 4th is sold by "Latrical".

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/ol/B008KSIO ... dition=new

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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby Bobsiler » Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:09 am

Here's a screen shot of what it looks like. Amazon seems to default to Eagle High for this item. Latrical's price is $2 more.
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Re: Lactrical vs Compufire

Postby NVSB4 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:14 pm

Bobsiler wrote:Here's a screen shot of what it looks like. Amazon seems to default to Eagle High for this item. Latrical's price is $2 more.


Pay the $2 more. Lactrical only give the warranty if you buy it from them directly.


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