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#696392 - 05/24/17 8:51 pm Overcharging issue  
Joined: Aug 2010
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Bola Offline
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Bola  Offline
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Toronto, Canada
I figured it was the zener diode so I swapped mine out with Adam M. Not! What are the odds that two Zeners are faulty? I use a Sparkbright battery voltage light monitor mounted to the dash plate of my 69 TR6R. It does a nice job of letting me know the state of my battery. A Shorai 7A. I ran this battery for three years successfully in my A65, also with a Sparkbright voltage light. No issues whatsoever. The battery typically holds a charge of 13.3V most of the time.

During riding the Sparkbright voltage light flashes Green/Red. This is an indication of overcharging. This occurs at over 4000 rpm. A steady Green means all is well. If it's not the Zener what else could it be. I'm running stock Lucas electrics with Boyer Mark III. I know, I know, I should upgrade to solid state and be done with it.

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#696402 - 05/24/17 10:42 pm Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Bola]  
Joined: Jan 2014
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NickL Online content
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NickL  Online Content
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Aus
Any zener diode over 5 volts has a positive temperature coefficient, so as it warms up the zener value drifts upwards.
Plus the standard tolerance of the Lucas device is +-5% at best.
To help keep the zener cooler you could switch the lights on this will remove some of it's loading and it will run cooler.
The zener should always be fitted in an area of good airflow and fitted to a good heatsink. They can actually be
dissipating around 30+ Watts at times.
If the bike has a magneto the situation is worse as there is no ignition load and the zener is having to dissipate even
larger amounts of energy. My advice in this instance is to buy an electronic regulator or fit 2 zeners.



#696433 - 05/25/17 2:54 am Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Bola]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 11,108
RF Whatley Online content
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RF Whatley  Online Content
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North Georgia, USA
An indicator lamp is not proof of over-charging. Is the battery physically hot ? Are you burning out light bulbs ? What other symptoms are being given ?


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#696452 - 05/25/17 9:53 am Re: Overcharging issue [Re: RF Whatley]  
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Stuart Offline
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Stuart  Offline
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Hi,

Originally Posted by Bola
During riding the Sparkbright voltage light flashes Green/Red. This is an indication of overcharging.

Originally Posted by RF Whatley
An indicator lamp is not proof of over-charging.

+1.

An educated guess says this "Sparkbright" is an LED? If so, it "flashes Green/Red" at a particular Volts value or within a small range. So, at best, all it's telling you is the bike's system Volts are at that value or within that range (at worst, it - not the Zener - is faulty). If you look in the Triumph workshop manuals, "Testing the Zener Diode" says it can allow the system to rise above 15V (15.2V, 15.3V, 15.4V depending where you look, although ime, Zeners almost never allow even 15V) before it's deemed 'faulty'.

Originally Posted by Bola
This occurs at over 4000 rpm.

It'd be better if you connect a Voltmeter across the battery and rev. the engine to and a little above 4,000 rpm, to see what the Volts value or range actually is?

Originally Posted by Bola
A steady Green means all is well.

Mmmm ... it means is the Volts across the Sparkbright are at some arbitrary value or range that someone has decided is "well". Do you know this Volts value or range, and is it suitable for your bike's electrics?

Originally Posted by Bola
stock Lucas electrics
I know, I know, I should upgrade to solid state and be done with it.

confused "stock" Lucas rectifier and Zener diode are "solid state". If, by "upgrade", you mean 'replace the rectifier and Zener diode with a combined reg./rec.', up to you how you blow your hard-earned but, if you're hoping to 'fix' a 'problem', it'd be wise to see if there is a 'problem' and if a reg./rec. will fix it? smile Fwiw, all my Triumphs still have rectifier 'n' Zeners.

Hth.

Regards,

#696486 - 05/25/17 4:06 pm Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Stuart]  
Joined: Aug 2010
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Bola Offline
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Bola  Offline
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Toronto, Canada
Well, as mentioned I have exactly the same setup on the A65 with no issues.

I did place a multimeter across the battery terminals, revved the bike to 5000 rpm and got nothing more than 14.80v. But this was digital not analog. Sometimes the digital ones go wonky. The overcharge spec for the Sparkbright is 15.20v which is supposed to show a green/red flash. So perhaps the LED voltage light is faulty. My next plan is to affix a dedicated voltmeter to the battery and take the bike out for a ride.

Question: wondering if installing the wires to the rectifier wrongly could produce false readings?

#696497 - 05/25/17 6:40 pm Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Bola]  
Joined: Jun 2002
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Stuart Offline
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Stuart  Offline
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Scotland
Hi,

Originally Posted by Bola
Well, as mentioned I have exactly the same setup on the A65 with no issues.

So take the Sparkbright and Zener from your A65 and fit it on your Triumph? Fwiw, I have two T160's with Rita e.i.; if I ever want to assure myself that a particular fault isn't an e.i., I simply swap the e.i. between bikes. bigt

Originally Posted by Bola
I did place a multimeter across the battery terminals, revved the bike to 5000 rpm and got nothing more than 14.80v. But this was digital not analog. Sometimes the digital ones go wonky.

And most of the time they don't.

Originally Posted by Bola
wondering if installing the wires to the rectifier wrongly could produce false readings?

Depends which wires you installed wrongly:-

. swapping the Red and Brown/White would've blown the fuse;

. swapping the Green/Yellow and the White/Green doesn't matter, they're AC;

. so?

Hth.

Regards,

#696827 - 05/30/17 2:27 am Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Bola]  
Joined: Aug 2010
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Bola Offline
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Bola  Offline
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Toronto, Canada
It's definitely overcharging. I hooked up a voltmeter gauge to the battery and revved the bike to 5000-6000 rpm. 15.6V at its highest rate. But lots of 15.3-15.4V most of the time. I have tried two zeners with the same overcharging results. Any ideas what to check now?

#696829 - 05/30/17 5:31 am Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Bola]  
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triton thrasher Online content
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Does running with the headlight on make a difference?


There's no law that says you have to use a Zener diode.

Last edited by triton thrasher; 05/30/17 5:34 am.

Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
#696854 - 05/30/17 2:38 pm Re: Overcharging issue [Re: triton thrasher]  
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Bola Offline
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Bola  Offline
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Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted by triton thrasher
Does running with the headlight on make a difference?

Yes I tried that but voltage is still high. At this point I'll likely upgrade to a Tympanium or other similar unit.

#696876 - 05/30/17 6:41 pm Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Bola]  
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Stuart Offline
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Stuart  Offline
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Scotland
Hi,

Originally Posted by Bola
Originally Posted by triton thrasher
Does running with the headlight on make a difference?

I tried that but voltage is still high. At this point I'll likely upgrade to a Tympanium or other similar unit.

As I posted before, up to you how you blow your hard-earned ... but I don't see anywhere in this thread that you've done simple stuff like checked the other components in the Zener's circuit? confused

Did you try the Sparkbright and/or the Zener from your A65? If you know the Zener in your A65 works fine in your A65, and it doesn't in your TR6R, having also tried the Zener from Adam's bike, it's pretty unlikely the problem is the Zener itself, yes?

However, if your '69 has standard electrics, assuming the ammeter is indicating as it should, the Brown/White wire to the Zener, its connection to Zener, the Zener's connection to the heatsink, the heatsink's connection to the Red wire and probably the Red wire's connection to other Red wires are all part of the Zener's circuit; if none of two or three Zeners regulate the Volts properly, might the problem lie elsewhere?

Btw, another possible clue is the Volts are only a little above where they should be, so you aren't dealing with a failure, you're dealing with something that isn't working as it should.

Put it another way - if the headlamp bulb was dim (ok, dimmer than standard cool ) and you tried one or two other headlamp bulbs, and they were also dim (ok, ... cool ), would you really think, "I must replace the headlamp" ... confused or would you think, "maybe I'll just check the wiring and the switches ..."? whistle

The Zener circuit doesn't have switches but it does have a few other things in common with the headlamp circuit ...

Hth.

Regards,

#696901 - 05/30/17 10:08 pm Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Bola]  
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Bola Offline
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Bola  Offline
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Toronto, Canada
Three zeners to remedy the issue. Third times a charm. bigt

#696912 - 05/31/17 12:11 am Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Bola]  
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steve-d Offline
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Pennsyltucky, USA
Test ZD: preliminary test -- test it with an ohmmeter-----if it is good you will only have continuity in one direction-----that easy------------> true you still dont know the voltages it will permit-----but at least you won't use one that is earthed.


73 T140V
#696924 - 05/31/17 3:22 am Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Bola]  
Joined: Jun 2007
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HawaiianTiger Online content
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Maui Hawaii
Just changed out my neighbor's zener after finding his voltage above 15.5 volts at 3k rpm. I put a heavy duty one in there and the volts are now 13.5v or so.
He was having repeated fuse blowing. Related? Not sure. Some more riding time will prove whether that had anything to do with it.
The center wire coming out of it was loose. it tested OK on the diode checker.......but that's a limited use test. I would use a Podtronics in it, but this bike is so original it's a shame to start monkeying with it.

Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Flying Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
#697099 - 06/02/17 6:30 am Re: Overcharging issue [Re: Bola]  
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NickL Online content
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