Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Quick Cal
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Motorcycle: 1989 1500 Goldwing

Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.

Post by Quick Cal »



I believe my 89 has the original alternator. I see the faded green band. Are the earlier alt's any better than the later ones? Thought I might have read that somewhere?

So I'm getting ready to pull a Bushtec trailer. I will be using a wiring isolator. The trailer will have 12 running lights. Then the brake and turn signals on top of that. Right now none are led. I will also have a hot wire going straight to the battery. Thought I might put in a charging port in the trailer.

With using an isolator, will the alt feel the strain of all these lights? Any at all? Or is that the whole point and it wouldn't matter how many lights the trailer has. I do plan on changing to all led's eventually but I would like to get the trailer on the road first so it might be awhile.

Or do I need to do led's on the trailer before even thinking about running all those incadesants. Thanks





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Andy Cote
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Re: Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.

Post by Andy Cote »

The amps are the amps, whether you use an isolator not. The power still comes from battery and alternator.

I have seen GL1500 with more lights than you have. It will probably be ok. But no harm will come from LED bulbs. Do the headlights, brake lights first then directionals then running lights if you don’t want to do it all at once.
2015 Goldwing, basic black

Previously: GL1200 standard, GL1200 Interstate, GL1500 Goldwing, GL1500 Valkyrie Standard, 2000 Valkyrie Interstate, many other Hondas
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blupupher
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Re: Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.

Post by blupupher »

You really need to get a volt meter to see where you are at.

If a stock OEM alternator, I am sure you will be draining the battery at idle.
Being able to see what your voltage is at speed will let you know how you will handle long term.

I bought a volt meter 2 years ago, but just finally put it on after having my alternator die on me.

I ended up going with a LActrical 95 amp unit on mine, cheaper and easier than trying to find a good OEM, has good reviews here and other sources, and higher output at idle than OEM (I never saw above 12.6v @ idle on the stock alternator, now sit at 13.9v at idle).
My bike has LED headlights and converted corner lights (LED bulbs on all the time), but all other lights are still incandescent, including the trunk and side bag lights.
I imagine a trailer with incandescent bulbs will be even more a drain on the charging system, but at speed a good alternator should be able to keep up, but again, a volt meter will let you keep a real time eye on it.

Another thing if you get a volt meter is to check it against a known good meter.
My volt meter on the bike reads about 0.4v below what I get with my regular volt meter at the battery, but mine is wired through the ACC fuse.
1994 Goldwing GL1500 SE
Quick Cal
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Re: Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.

Post by Quick Cal »

If IIRC my bike puts out 14.xx at idle according to my dvm. If I wasn't in the middle of something I would go check it.
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blupupher
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Re: Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.

Post by blupupher »

Quick Cal wrote: Fri Sep 02, 2022 1:25 pm If IIRC my bike puts out 14.xx at idle according to my dvm. If I wasn't in the middle of something I would go check it.
If you are getting 14v @ idle, you are good.
Even with incandescent trailer lights, you should still be above 13 at idle.
1994 Goldwing GL1500 SE
Quick Cal
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Re: Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.

Post by Quick Cal »

blupupher wrote: Fri Sep 02, 2022 1:35 pm
Quick Cal wrote: Fri Sep 02, 2022 1:25 pm If IIRC my bike puts out 14.xx at idle according to my dvm. If I wasn't in the middle of something I would go check it.
If you are getting 14v @ idle, you are good.
Even with incandescent trailer lights, you should still be above 13 at idle.
Just for the record, that was with out the trailer being hooked up.
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MikeB
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Re: Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.

Post by MikeB »

If you have the ability, time and money, I'd recommend converting to all LED's in the trailer.

Incandescent lamp current draw:
1156 - 2.1 A
1157 - Running Light - .59 A, Brake Light - 2.1 A
194 - .27 A
57 - .24 A

I assume the running lights are 194 but they could be 57's. Either way, 12 running lights burning and with the 1157 lights on, the static draw will be about 4.18 amps.

Using the brake and turn lights together, assuming braking and turning in one direction, and all the running lights burning, the trailer will draw about 10.5 A.

Using LED's instead of Incandescent bulbs will be one tenth of the draw, and that is just on the trailer alone.

By the way, the OEM alternator will put out about 40 amps maximum and the Gold Wing with no accessories or additional lights uses a little over half of that current.
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Re: Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.

Post by WingAdmin »

You're correct that the earlier alternators (made in Japan!) are far better than the later Chinese ones.

What I would do:

- Replace your headlights with LEDs. That will drop the power used by the headlights from 9 amps down to 4 amps. Now you have 5 amps of extra capacity to play with.
- Make sure all your trailer lights are LED.

Doing those two things will very likely have you using less power than you do today with no trailer and your OEM halogen headlights.
Quick Cal
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Re: Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.

Post by Quick Cal »

WingAdmin wrote: Tue Sep 06, 2022 2:39 pm You're correct that the earlier alternators (made in Japan!) are far better than the later Chinese ones.

What I would do:

- Replace your headlights with LEDs. That will drop the power used by the headlights from 9 amps down to 4 amps. Now you have 5 amps of extra capacity to play with.
- Make sure all your trailer lights are LED.

Doing those two things will very likely have you using less power than you do today with no trailer and your OEM halogen headlights.

What is the favorite led kits these days. I read your reviews on the gen2 pathfinders and the ec's. That was from 2018. Is there anything better these days? Thanks
Quick Cal
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Re: Alternator and trailer wiring and lighting questions.

Post by Quick Cal »

Just an update.

I have switched most bulbs to led bulbs, and the rest are on the way. If I have everything on at once, including the interior light,, I will have 2.3 amps. I can live with that.

Now to switch out the head light.


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