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charging aggravation #687597
03/11/17 5:48 am
03/11/17 5:48 am
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SEATTLE WA
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1978 T 140.
new Wassel 16 amp alternator
podtronics wired directly to the battery.
New Shoria battery bike has a history of draining the battery in about 25 miles.
New key switch
With the headlight on at idle it reads 13.15 V
13.80 at 2000 rpm.

I tried measuring the two alternator wires using a 1 ohm resister in parallel. Unfortunately Radio Shack only had a one ohm, one watt resister. It went up in smoke. It looks like everything is OK with the charging circuit but the battery is still going flat.

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Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687605
03/11/17 7:31 am
03/11/17 7:31 am
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Surely there is a short to earth/ground in one of the circuits when the key is off.

Seems like it is charging ok. Not great at 13.5volts but ok. Should be workable.

What happens if you put a multimeter in line between battery and feed to ignition and measure current/amps draw when bike at rest with all systems off? Do you see a current draw?


Ginge
Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687606
03/11/17 7:44 am
03/11/17 7:44 am
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You rev it to 2000 rpm and voltage rises, but during the following 25 miles, the volts fall to nothing?


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: charging aggravation [Re: triton thrasher] #687608
03/11/17 7:56 am
03/11/17 7:56 am
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Yeah, good point Triton Thrasher. Clarified my muddy thinking.

It is charging and voltage is rising. Is it dropping out for some reason on the road or is there a drain in the system at rest.


Ginge
Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687695
03/11/17 9:04 pm
03/11/17 9:04 pm
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that is the big question...voltage will rise as it is standing on the garage floor but it has 3 times drained the battery while on the road. And that has happened just since I have been working with it. According to the owner this problem has been going on for a while but not so severe. It doesn't make sense but it has happened a few times, hence the replacement of all electrical components. The first shop replaced the alternator and podtronics and battery. I wired the alternator directly to the podtronics and the podtronics directly to the battery. New battery.
Most diagrams for checking the alternator output tell me to put the meter leads directly onto the alternator leads with a 1 ohm resister in parallel. I do not have a resister. What happens if I connect the meter with out the resister?

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687712
03/11/17 10:57 pm
03/11/17 10:57 pm
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Battery drainage breaks evenly into 2 camps: A) Not putting enough into the battery (the charging system), and B) taking too much out of the battery (the accessory system).

Think of the battery like a checking account. You make $100 a week which is deposited weekly, but your wife is out shopping writing checks that total $125 a week. In this case it's easy to see why the account will never show a surplus. The same thing happens on a bike. If you have a load, such as 195W headlamp bulb, then it's easy to see how the 200W charging system works (and tests) perfectly but still can't charge the battery when the total "load" (including head lamp taillight, blinkers, and ignition) is tallied.

It's simply not good enough to test the charging system, you need a way to look at the entirety of the electrical system. As in the story above, it's similar to the bank only looking at your pay stubs when trying to figure out why you bounce so many checks. No sir, I assure you, they will be looking at the entire activity on the account !

Besides the HL, there are other devices that can draw lots of current without causing a short circuit that would be indicated by a blown fuse. So just because the fuse is OK is no reason to jump to the immediate conclusion that all is well with the electrical system. One of these is that the rider could be resting his foot on the brake pedal making the brake lamp stay ON as he rides down the road. Neither you nor the rider will see that one !

So instead of being myopic, take a look at the full picture.

Hope this helps. bigt

Last edited by RF Whatley; 03/11/17 11:00 pm.

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Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687716
03/11/17 11:08 pm
03/11/17 11:08 pm
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You need to put a load across the alternator output to get a reading you can compare to whatever output number you are seeking. I don't know what happens if you connect directly. No load probably means inaccurate numbers.

Just connect a headlight bulb direct to alt leads. Start bike on the battery and see if the bulb glows and gets brighter with revs.

I really don't think charging is your issue. Voltage is rising with revs. That should be good enough to indicate your alternator is doing it's thing. Also the problem seems to have existed before and after the Wassells alt was installed so it must be somewhere else.

Something is draining the battery as you ride. That "something" has a greater current drain than the alt can supply so the battery progressively gets drained.

Do the test with the meter inline with battery "hot" and look to see if you have amps being drained while at rest.


Ginge
Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687730
03/12/17 2:34 am
03/12/17 2:34 am
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He's getting 13.8 volts at 2000rpm. Not far away from the target.

That's why I think it's not a charging issue. It's a net loss draining the battery.


Ginge
Re: charging aggravation [Re: NickL] #687731
03/12/17 2:36 am
03/12/17 2:36 am
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Originally Posted by NickL
They should be bolted to a large piece of alley as they will get hot. These are fine and cost very little.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/General-1-500-Ohm-100W-Watt-Shell-Power-Aluminum-Housed-Case-Wirewound-Resistor-/152137850818?var=&hash=item236c1f5fc2:m:m5-3X4ZiDRLEjXYJyguXI3Q
I use resistors like these myself and agree they are cheap and work. But, if you want something that doesn't risk a third degree burn if you accidentally touch it consider one of these:

http://www.newark.com/ohmite/l100j1...ted=true&CAWELAID=120185550001129335

These Ohmite power resistors have much more surface area than the ones in the above eBay link so they radiate power better and don't get as hot. They do cost more, though (although, the link isn't necessarily the cheapest supplier).

Originally Posted by Ginge
I think it's not a charging issue. It's a net loss draining the battery.
I agree. The stator seems to be supplying a lot of power. It's just that you're dissipating even more than it is supplying.

Last edited by Magnetoman; 03/12/17 2:40 am.
Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687746
03/12/17 5:14 am
03/12/17 5:14 am
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I believe something is draining the system, but what? And how to check for it? The bulbs are standard Triumph, with a 60/55 watt QH headlight bulb. The draw through all the bulbs and ignition shouldn't be beyond 200 watt. One thing I can do is replace all with LED bulbs but that is not the cure for my problem. I took some readings today though the bike was cold.
Battery disconnected...13.35 volts
reg / rect...1200RPM-----13.90 V--------------headlight on 13.00V
2000RPM-----14.87 V--------------headlight on 13.00V

Alternator..connected the two wires through the meter no resister.........11V ---1200RPM
14V ---2000RPM
How to interpret the alternator readings?

I did this not allowing the Triumph to reach operating temp. Weather permitting I will try tomorrow when everything is warmed up.
I have a dual lead coil from Rabers for the Pazon ignition, anyway that could be using up wattage? I have installed all these components several times before with no problems. Any chance that I am losing power through the switch boxes on the handlebars?

With the key off there is no drain on the battery.
It is a lot of extra watts that are disappearing without blowing a fuse

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687747
03/12/17 5:47 am
03/12/17 5:47 am
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Allright, I bought the 1 ohm 100 watt resister, should be here by Thursday.
How do I start finding the extra draw on the power?

With the resister in parallel with the meter how will this change the reading on the meter? The numbers so far seem to be right in line.

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687754
03/12/17 8:43 am
03/12/17 8:43 am
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Multimeter set to amps in battery to fuseholder.

Re: charging aggravation [Re: kommando] #687761
03/12/17 10:15 am
03/12/17 10:15 am
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Stop thinking about wattage. Start thinking about amps. Something is demanding more amps from your alternator and battery than it should be.

You have a 16 amp alternator in a 12 volt system. That's plenty of power but only if the circuit resistance is low as designed. If you have a short, or a dodgy connection somewhere it will increase resistance and suck amps out of the system but still show a reasonable voltage when tested.

Volts = amps x resistance. If there is a large resistance in the system, then the amount of amps you have to spead around plummets. That's when the alternator becomes overwhelmed and the system starts sucking amps from your battery. When the battery supply is exhausted your bike stops, and you start pushing it home.

Getting the bike up to operating temperature to check electrics is new to me. For our purposes the temperature in the circuits means very little. Engine temp won't affect circuit measurements at our level.

As Kommando says. Disconnect the hot lead from ignition switch to battery. If you have a fuse holder in that area then use that to disconnect. Set your multimeter to amps and plug the multimeter leads into the 10amp testing sockets on the meter. I'm presuming you have a cheap digital meter like me. It has such a setting.

Connect one end of the meter to the battery, and the other to the lead/ fuse holder that you disconnected. You should see a zero reading meaning with igntion off and no lights operating there is no drain on the battery. Turn key on. You should see a small amperage reading meaning the coils are being powered up. Maybe 1 amp? Don't take my word for it though. I have no idea what your coils would draw when powered up.

Then turn headlight on. You appear to have a 60/55 watt headlamp bulb. Power (watts) = volts x amps. A 60 watt bulb should equal 12 volts x 5 amps. So you should see an additional 5 amp draw at the meter because you are now powering coils at (say) 1 amp for coils plus headlight at 5 amp, and then a bit more because your tail light will be powered too.

Then put your foot on the brake pedal and light up the brake light. That will increase the current draw even more. Maybe another 1 to 2 amps depending on the wattage of your bulbs and how many you have in the circuit.

At this stage the bike is not running. You've just progressively started to turn switches on to see what is sucking power ( remembering that real world electrical power equals amps not volts).

You probably have indicators as your bike is 1978. How much additional current are they drawing when you turn them on with your coils powered, your headlight on, your foot on the brake and the indicators on?

At some stage you will find a circuit that is sucking more power than it ought to. That's where you have a leak to earth. Your battery is supplying amps to a system that is demanding more than it is designed to do.

I have looked at your figures from your latest multimeter readings. All looks about right to me.

I'll probably get flamed for my terminology and rough way of explaining the tests but don't let that side track you. Something is sucking power out of your system and your alternator which seems to be working well can't keep up.


Ginge
Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687847
03/12/17 8:25 pm
03/12/17 8:25 pm
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Hi,

Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
The draw through all the bulbs and ignition shouldn't be beyond 200 watt.

I hate to rain on your parade but one of the problems with these alleged "16A" (and "20A") alternators is no-one knows at what rpm these huge numbers are actually produced. If you look over on the BSA Board through past posts, you'll find some from others who've been unable to measure these huge numbers at any rpm a BSA twin is capable of surviving.

Fwiw, at best ime, it's a pattern of the RM23, that Lucas rated for 14.5A @ 5,000 rpm; that could produce 16A ... at about 8,000 rpm ...

Imho, you need to see the Amps at rpm you're actually using.

Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
I believe something is draining the system,

Possibly. But also possibly you just have some shonky pattern junk that doesn't produce enough at the rpm you're using?

Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
It is a lot of extra watts that are disappearing without blowing a fuse

Or the Watts (Amps) aren't being produced at the rpm you're using?

Hth.

Regards,

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687857
03/12/17 8:55 pm
03/12/17 8:55 pm
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I am always suspicious of aftermarket parts. What is the overall findings on these new alternates? Is genuine Lucas always the best and most reliable for stated output? There is Wassel and Sparx, perhaps others, what's been the experience with them?

##I have a cheap multimeter, only goes to 10 amp. If I get a higher rated multimeter I could measure amps from the rect/rect hot wire to the battery? I would like to be able to double check Wassel's claims of 16 amp.

Figure this is a Sunday bike so low RPMs. I tell people to ride the Brit bikes more aggressively than they do, one reason is to keep the battery charged up. A lot of people want to ride through city streets and shift at 3000.

Thanks for the above info. I am still wondering what the function of the 1 ohm resister is.

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687877
03/12/17 10:39 pm
03/12/17 10:39 pm
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Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
I am always suspicious of aftermarket parts... Is genuine Lucas always the best and most reliable for stated output?
##I have a cheap multimeter, only goes to 10 amp. If I get a higher rated multimeter I could measure amps from the rect/rect hot wire to the battery?
I am still wondering what the function of the 1 ohm resister is.
"Lucas" parts in green boxes are aftermarket parts. They're made somewhere by someone who licensed the right to use the name.

The purpose of the 1 Ohm resistor is to eliminate the need for a different ammeter. Since I=V/R when you place a 1 Ohm resistor directly in the circuit the reading on your voltmeter across that resistor in Volts directly gives you the current flowing through the resistor in Amps. You could just as well use a, say, 2 Ohm resistor, but then you'd have to use a cheap calculator to divide by 2.

For those of you not into "cheap," an easier solution than power resistors and jumper cables is a DC clamp-on ammeter (the cheap ones are AC-only; it has to be a higher priced one that does DC as well to do you any good on a motorcycle). They read the current directly without having to open the circuit in order to insert a 1 Ohm resistor.

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687892
03/12/17 11:50 pm
03/12/17 11:50 pm
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current readings... AMPS
the meter is inline between the battery and brown/blue wire going north to the switch.

key off.................0.00

key on..................0.11

lights on...............4.72 - 4.85

brake light on.......5.55

turn signal............6.93 - 6.84

This seems good?

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687908
03/13/17 1:08 am
03/13/17 1:08 am
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This was posted to the wrong thread earlier today , some of this was already coved in Mman post ...but what the hay .

Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
Allright, I bought the 1 ohm 100 watt resister, should be here by Thursday.
How do I start finding the extra draw on the power?

With the resister in parallel with the meter how will this change the reading on the meter? The numbers so far seem to be right in line.


The Voltage squared ÷ resistance = watts
... the whole point of the 1ohm dump load is to make the math simple , if you know the voltage and the load (1) ...you know amperage .

Under a 1ohm load ... voltage = amps .
Under a 1ohm load ... the voltmeter is also working as an ameter .

As an example , the raw stator output can be directly tested at different rpms .

With the 1ohm 100 watt resistor , connected in parallel ...to only the 2 stator output wires .
The meter set on voltage will also be a direct reading of the amps being dumped into the resistance load .
So
7 volts = 7 amps ... 7volts × 7amps ÷ 1 ohms = 49 watts
And
10 volts = 10 amps .... 10 × 10 ÷ 1 = 100 watts . ?... but at what rpm ? This is the key .


The resistor you bought is rated for 100 watts , so exceeding 10 volts could be exciting .
As your stator may be able to push up to 16 volts into a 1ohm load . ?
The wattage rating of the resistor is about its ability to dissipate heat .
Maybe placing it on ice with a fan blowing over it , or some other such trick , will allow the
Resistor to safely test the stators output above 10volts .
And/Or just keep the test time at highest voltage limited .

Once you have established how much wattage (power ) the stator can put out .
And establish an average output for the rpm range used in your riding style .
(A 16amp stator is not putting out any more amps than a 10 amp stator if they are held under there potentials by putt-ing around)
It can be used to balance the amount of power you can use and still keep the battery charged .
The amount of power in , to keep a battery happy , should be roughly 20% more than the power used .

Is your low beam on when your high beam is on ? Everything seems pretty ok with your numbers .

Last edited by quinten; 03/13/17 1:10 am.
Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687911
03/13/17 1:30 am
03/13/17 1:30 am
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Thanks for all the info. I am printing it out and saving it for future reference.

The high and low beam work independently by the handlebar switch, I had already thought that perhaps both were coming on at the same time and drawing 105 watts. Not so. This problem is becoming a real mystery.

I cancelled the order for the 1 ohm resister and will buy the suggested DC clamp on meter. Is Craftsman OK? As you can see, my knowledge of this is marginal but I want to understand this because I encounter electrical problems all the time. Incredibly, most people know even less than I do. I am hoping that by the time I solve this I can trouble shoot these simple electrical systems in a short amount of time. But this one is being a bear.

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687914
03/13/17 2:12 am
03/13/17 2:12 am
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Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
will buy the suggested DC clamp on meter. Is Craftsman OK?
That depends on its specifications, not on its brand. Triumph made Cubs and Tridents; the specifications were quite different. First, is it really both AC and DC, and second what it the upper range? If it has more than one range, fine, but one of them needs to resolve at least 0.1 Amps to be most useful. If it's designed for electricians it will have a high upper range and likely won't be able to resolve a current that small.

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687921
03/13/17 3:28 am
03/13/17 3:28 am
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Hi,

Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
current readings... AMPS

The "lights on" Amps suggest the bike still has the original 45/40 (main/dip Watts) headlamp bulb?

Brake light and turn signals are 'periodic' consumers; i.e. they aren't (shouldn't be) on all the time. For 'periodic' consumers, I simply allow 10% or so above the total of 'constant consumers' (e.g. ignition, headlamp, pilot lamp,, tail-lamp, speedo. 'n' tacho. lamps if you ride with lights-on all the time) to keep the battery charged.

If the bike still has 12V coils triggered by points, or 6V coils by e.i., the current consumption is a gnat's under 3.5A. So ignition plus lights plus a bit to keep the battery charged is ~9 Amps. Connect the ammeter either between the rectifier DC output and the Brown/Blue wire or, if the bike has a reg./rec., in the wire to battery -ve, start the engine, rev. it 'til the ammeter shows more than 9A, note the rpm. When you ride, keep the rpm at or above the noted figure for most of the ride and see if the bike still has a 'charging' problem.

Hth.

Regards,

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687923
03/13/17 3:39 am
03/13/17 3:39 am
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So it has been narrowed down to the charging? How to decide whether it is the alternator or the podtronics. I could make a set of long leads from the alternator to the handlebars to the meter and take it for a short ride. That's how I tracked down a generator problem in my goldstar. It would read OK at an idle but when I took it out on the road I could watch the volts go up and down randomly. The problem turned out to be fiber gear in the magdyno was slipping intermittently. However, the Triumph alt. has no clutching mechanism. Perhaps it is an intermittent problem that would only show up under use. Something squirrely is going on. Any better ideas? I would like to try using the amp scale but the meter seems to top out at 10 amps. Any problems using the above method for 5 miles? Then I could also check the podtronics by wiring directly to the battery

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #687927
03/13/17 4:04 am
03/13/17 4:04 am
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Hi,

Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
So it has been narrowed down to the charging?

I wouldn't say "narrowed down". You posted, "a lot of extra watts that are disappearing without blowing a fuse", I merely pointed out that you weren't considering that said "watts" might not have been generated ...

Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
How to decide whether it is the alternator or the podtronics.

Doesn't matter at the moment. One step at a time. All you need to know first is at what engine rpm, ~9A is exceeded, then a road test to confirm that something isn't failing when it warms up.

Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
I could also check the podtronics by wiring directly to the battery

confused What do you mean? An alternator plus either rectifier or reg./rec. is for keeping the battery charged. Why isn't "the podtronics" wired "directly to the battery" now?

Regards,

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #688300
03/16/17 8:15 am
03/16/17 8:15 am
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 632
SEATTLE WA
S
SEATTLE GS Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
SEATTLE GS  Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
S
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 632
SEATTLE WA
I connected the meter jumping around the fuse. Once started there were no numbers on the meter. I disconnected the fuse and the motor died every time. What is the trick to connect the meter and drive it down the road?

Re: charging aggravation [Re: SEATTLE GS] #688302
03/16/17 9:07 am
03/16/17 9:07 am
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,664
Pacific northwest
Q
quinten Offline
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quinten  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Q
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,664
Pacific northwest
Originally Posted by SEATTLE GS
I connected the meter jumping around the fuse. Once started there were no numbers on the meter. I disconnected the fuse and the motor died every time. What is the trick to connect the meter and drive it down the road?

Are you talking about using a clamp meter to measure dc amps ?
Its measures the magnetic field in the single wire clamped inside it .
If there is another magnetic field near by , say a coil ? , It could be messing with the reading .

What model meter is it ?
.

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