Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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DarthBaizer
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Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DarthBaizer »



Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I have read a few other posts and I believe I am on the right track, but I would like to have other points of view.

1991 Golding 1500. 70,000 miles

Yesterday morning, I started the bike so I could go to work. It was a little rough starting, but I assumed it was because it had sat for a few days (3 - 4 days).

I drove 3 blocks to get fuel. After I fueled, I attempted to restart the bike. The engine would not turn over. It acted like a weak / dead battery. I coasted down a small incline and popped the clutch which started the bike.

I drove about 4 -5 more blocks. The bike started running rough, the LCD screen quit functioning, and other weird electrical stuff. The engine continued running worse until the point it died all together.

Today, I took the battery out and had it checked at the automotive store. They said it tested good.

I put it back in the bike, hooked everything back up. I checked the voltage across the terminals of the battery and was getting neighborhood of 12.2 - 12.3 VDC.

I turned the key on and hit the starter. The voltage dropped to 10 - 11 VDC and as soon as I let off the starter, the voltage returned to 12.2VDC.

I continued to watch the voltage (still across the battery terminals). The voltage slowly decreased to about 12.0 - 12.1 VDC. I rode the bike less than 100 ft and put the VOM back on the battery. This time, the voltage was below 12 volts and continuing to drop.

I called my local Honda repair shop. The mechanic suggested that it might be the stator. I was thinking it was the alternator. I hadn't entertained the idea of a stator.

So, how do I proceed from here? How do I differentiate between the alternator and the stator?

The mechanic also said that to replace the stator, the entire engine has to be removed. Is this accurate?

Thank you for sharing your knowledge, ideas, and opinions.

Jim



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ct1500
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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by ct1500 »

With the engine running check charging voltages at battery. What is voltage at idle and at 1800RPM with no brake lights, fans, lower cornering lights nor accessories turned on. With key off what is voltage reading at battery?
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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DarthBaizer »

Before start: 12.4VDC
After start, at idle: About 12.7VD
At 1800 RPM: actually dropped to about 11.xx VDC

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DenverWinger »

DarthBaizer wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:27 pm
1991 Golding 1500. 70,000 miles

I called my local Honda repair shop. The mechanic suggested that it might be the stator. I was thinking it was the alternator. I hadn't entertained the idea of a stator.

So, how do I proceed from here? How do I differentiate between the alternator and the stator?

The mechanic also said that to replace the stator, the entire engine has to be removed. Is this accurate?
Sounds like bad alternator. The 1500 doesn't have an internal "Stator", just an automotive-style alternator that has been adapted to fit the motorcycle engine. The engine doesn't need to come out to service the alternator. Alternator is accessible thru the Left side covers.

Could be the internal voltage regulator has failed, but more commonly just needs a new set of brushes. In either case the alternator needs to come out.

The alternator is serviceable, if you don't want to do it yourself your Friendly Neighborhood Local Automotive Alternator Rebuild Shop can repair it for you. Probably won't cost that much, they can advise. New alternators can be found in the $125-250 range depending on which model you buy.
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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by Rednaxs60 »

DenverWinger beat me to it. 1500 GW has an alternator, no stator. Should be reading approximately 14.2 VDC even at idle. Take the alternator off the engine - rear right side and take to an electrical shop to have checked.
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DenverWinger »

I forgot to mention to get a new set of rubber dampers to install along with the repaired alternator. Available at Cyclemax.com

https://www.cyclemax.com/inc/sdetail/gl ... 8744/29165
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DenverWinger »

Rednaxs60 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:36 pm
Take the alternator off the engine - rear right side and take to an electrical shop to have checked.
Ernest, really? :lol: :lol:
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by WingAdmin »

DenverWinger wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:42 pm
Rednaxs60 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:36 pm
Take the alternator off the engine - rear right side and take to an electrical shop to have checked.
Ernest, really? :lol: :lol:
Depends on which way you're facing the bike, I suppose. :)

But yes, the alternator is on the left side of the bike.

And also yes, the symptoms describe perfectly a failed alternator.

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by ct1500 »

DarthBaizer wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:03 pm
Before start: 12.4VDC
After start, at idle: About 12.7VD
At 1800 RPM: actually dropped to about 11.xx VDC
Jim, it looks like you will be in the market for an alternator if your wiring to it is okay. With key off the big output wire under boot attached to stud should have voltage and with key on the little wire that gets plugged into alternator should have voltage.
If your machine has about 60-65k on the clock there is a good possibility it only has stuck brushes within alternator which are easily serviced.
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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DarthBaizer »

Thank you all for your words of wisdom. I will take the alternator off and have a looksee at it on my next day off from work.

One more question: From where does the dash mounted volt meter take its readings? Several weeks ago, I noticed that the voltage was running low (11ish VDC), but the bike was still running fine and the voltage at the battery was decent (12+) so I passed it off as a bad volt meter / circuit.

Was that meter trying to tell me something that I ignored?

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DenverWinger »

Since the voltmeter isn't stock, hard to say where it's connected. But if you noticed it reading lower than normal, it was telling you that the alternator stopped charging....
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DarthBaizer »

The voltmeter I was just asking about is stock. Its the one built into the dash of the bike, as opposed to the VOM I was using (in the first part of this thread) to do my troubleshooting.

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DenverWinger »

Except the one in the dash isn't stock, either. None of the 1500's came from the factory with a voltmeter, it wasn't an option. Somebody added it themselves. :)
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by Rednaxs60 »

DenverWinger wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:42 pm
Rednaxs60 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:36 pm
Take the alternator off the engine - rear right side and take to an electrical shop to have checked.
Ernest, really? :lol: :lol:
Oops, my bad. Left side rear of engine.
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by ct1500 »

DarthBaizer wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:58 pm
One more question: From where does the dash mounted volt meter take its readings? Several weeks ago, I noticed that the voltage was running low (11ish VDC), but the bike was still running fine and the voltage at the battery was decent (12+) so I passed it off as a bad volt meter / circuit.
Was that meter trying to tell me something that I ignored?
To accurately diagnose these charging systems you need to know the readings from a DMM within a tenth of a volt like you provided. :) A late model SE with the extra lighting load could not make it past 13.3V when new off the showroom floor and were notorious poor performers. :( Your OEM 1991 with 40A alternator was adequate enough to show decent charging voltages most of the time.

I just reread the opening post and your machine has 70k miles. Very good chance you dodged the bullet with only stuck (carbon dusted) brushes.
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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by bellboy40 »

Jim, your local Honda mechanic doesn't know much about Goldwings if he thinks your GL1500 needs the engine out to fix the stator. If you have a problem that needs to go in the shop, you certainly need to find another place to take it.

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DarthBaizer »

bellboy40 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:10 am
Jim, your local Honda mechanic doesn't know much about Goldwings if he thinks your GL1500 needs the engine out to fix the stator. If you have a problem that needs to go in the shop, you certainly need to find another place to take it.
I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one. I was talking to the guy at the front counter on the phone who was talking to one of the mechanics, not the head mechanic. I've talked to the head mechanic and he seems knowledgeable. It's a small shop. I am definitely going to keep this in mind in the future, though. I'm definitely suspect of them now.

Fortunately, any work that has needed to be done on this bike has still been within my comfort level.

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DarthBaizer »

Rednaxs60 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:33 pm
DenverWinger wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:42 pm
Rednaxs60 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:36 pm
Take the alternator off the engine - rear right side and take to an electrical shop to have checked.
Ernest, really? :lol: :lol:
Oops, my bad. Left side rear of engine.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who crosses sides. :lol:

I did take the alternator off and finally found a shop to bench test it. They said it was bad. I've ordered another alternator. For some reason, I was thinking the original alternator was a 90A piece, so that is what I ordered. After reading more here, I ran the part number on the alternator itself and sure enough, it's a 40A piece.

I'm going to break this one down and see if I can find the issue. That is, once I get some time between work and the wife's "hunny do" jobs. :shock:

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DarthBaizer »

Another question:

I am following this technique to check the condenser. When I put my analog ohm meter on the terminals as described, I get minimal needle displacement. How much should the needle move?
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/81794 ... 442#manual

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by thebruce »

If your meter is not on the lowest ohm setting the needle won't deflect much. You will possibly get more obvious results if you use a digital meter with a 9v battery, or a megaohmmeter (pricey) .

You are testing the capacitor (condenser) to see if it accepts a charge. If you are only feeding it 1.5-3v from an analog meter the cap won't completely charge, and so you might only get a small swing in the needle.

The resistance of a capacitor at 0v goes from 0 ohms and works its way to infinite as it charges. They are extremely fast, so the readings are sometimes hard to interpret.
It doesn't matter what you ride, as long as you have your knees to the breeze.

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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DenverWinger »

You'll get a better bounce on the needle if after you take a reading you reverse the meter leads and measure again. This reverses the charge in the capacitor put there by the test meter and causes more current to flow. Meter should return to infinite after the bounce.

A good capacitor will bounce the meter needle and then the needle will go back to the open (infinite ohms) reading. A leaky capacitor (bad) will still show some resistance after the bounce. A capacitor who's capacity in microfarads is out of spec is pretty much impossible to tell with just an analog ohmmeter. You could compare the "Size and duration" of the needle bounce with a known good capacitor, I suppose.

This capacitor is not critical, it is just to help filter Alternator noise (whine) from the stereo. If you couldn't hear alternator whine in the stereo speakers (back when the alternator was still working) it's a pretty good bet the capacitor is OK.
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark

DarthBaizer
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Re: Electrical Issues: Am I on the right troubleshooting path?

Post by DarthBaizer »

DenverWinger wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:25 pm
This capacitor is not critical, it is just to help filter Alternator noise (whine) from the stereo. If you couldn't hear alternator whine in the stereo speakers (back when the alternator was still working) it's a pretty good bet the capacitor is OK.
Based on that, I will not need to investigate the cap any further. I rarely used the radio, opting, instead, for the bluetooth headset in my helmet.

PS: I like your tag line. I"ve been doing some amateur coding myself.



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