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Thread: Alternator can't keep up with fans in hot weather traffic

  1. #16
    apriliaforum expert Motech's Avatar
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    I get charge voltage improvements through volt drop testing and terminal improvements so often and consistently that I think I'll film my process next time and post it up. It sounds difficult when described with words, but when demonstrated in person, it tells it's own story real clearly. It's tedious sometimes, but really pretty simple, enough so that anyone with a decent DVOM can master it pretty quickly.

    Stay tuned.
    No Matter Where You Are, There You Go!

  2. #17
    apriliaforum expert Futura's Avatar
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    Some Disturbing Observations...

    I am finally getting around to some actual testing and data gathering on my "charging" issue...

    Years ago I installed a regulator wiring bypass, All is fine in connector land, and I have no significant voltage drop issue remaining.

    Measuring <100mv drop max on the plus side, far less on the negative.

    Stator still tests 100%

    I am able to achieve up to 14.3 volts with the stock regulator, under ideal circumstances.

    I have the usual inverted voltage-RPM curve, and voltage drops maybe .5 volts at high RPM.

    New Yuasa battery last summer. Always on tender.

    So, until last summer's failures, I was thinking I was at least OK in charging world...


    Today, (being only about 45f outside temp), I pulled the side panels and did some testing of the stock charging system. Gathering data in prep for replacing the regulator with the SH847.

    I removed the stock regulator from the heat sink plate, and let it hang, to simulate a warmer day or confined operation.


    I discovered two troubling things that might worry any stock-system owner:

    1. I clearly observed the regulator shutting down! The regulator seemed to activate a thermal protection mode, and then come back to operation after some time off. Voltage suddenly would drop down to battery levels. Sometimes a rev would kick it back to 14+, but on idle it would most times falter again when hot. The regulator ran quite hot at idle, as would be expected from a shunt configuration. Stator AC current was about 12 amps. So, looking back to the last roadside failure, and not yet having a voltmeter installed then, it would seem it may not have been charging at all much of the time! Yikes #1!

    2. I have never seen my cooling fans simply fail to activate before. Even with the aforementioned roadside shutdowns, the fans did not stop prematurely. They would slow down with low voltage, as would be expected, but always cycled on and off at the proper temp points. On the one electrical failure day, the fans simply could not keep up with the engine heat vs ambient, with the bike not moving. Today, while idling in place, on one engine temp cycle, the fans simply failed to come on at all! I watched the temp climbing, climbing, but NO fans! The voltage being measured the whole time, even with the reg shutdown, was not terrible, 12-13 volts. I have nothing yet to explain this failure, and it was very troubling to witness. Finally, after waiting, I decided to shut down at about 227 deg F. Nothing more to gain cooking the engine. Coolant level is fine. Radiators hot. On several subsequent engine heat cycles, the fans behaved fine. Yikes #2!

    Has anyone else observed either failure, or have any special info on the fan failure, other than usual diagnostics? While I could suspect a temp sensor, I wonder if there could be a logic glitch in the ECU. The troubling part is that the coolant temp sensor only informs the ECU, which controls the fans from there. Could still be a sensor intermittent though...
    Last edited by Futura; 03-03-2019 at 04:05 AM.

  3. #18
    apriliaforum expert spaz_666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Futura View Post
    2. I have never seen my cooling fans simply fail to activate before. Even with the aforementioned roadside shutdowns, the fans did not stop prematurely. They would slow down with low voltage, as would be expected, but always cycled on and off at the proper temp points. On the one electrical failure day, the fans simply could not keep up with the engine heat vs ambient, with the bike not moving. Today, while idling in place, on one engine temp cycle, the fans simply failed to come on at all! I watched the temp climbing, climbing, but NO fans! The voltage being measured the whole time, even with the reg shutdown, was not terrible, 12-13 volts. I have nothing yet to explain this failure, and it was very troubling to witness. Finally, after waiting, I decided to shut down at about 227 deg F. Nothing more to gain cooking the engine. Coolant level is fine. Radiators hot. On several subsequent engine heat cycles, the fans behaved fine. Yikes #2!

    Has anyone else observed either failure, or have any special info on the fan failure, other than usual diagnostics? While I could suspect a temp sensor, I wonder if there could be a logic glitch in the ECU. The troubling part is that the coolant temp sensor only informs the ECU, which controls the fans from there. Could still be a sensor intermittent though...
    In my 12 years of Futura ownership, I have observed this exact behavior twice - many years apart. After the second time, I installed an override switch so that I could turn the fans on manually at any time, in case they failed to start on their own. That was 3 years ago, and I haven't had to use the switch.
    Last edited by spaz_666; 03-03-2019 at 12:05 PM.

  4. #19
    apriliaforum Member kokomoto's Avatar
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    http://www.sparkbright.co.uk/sparkri...ge-monitor.php

    I ordered a couple the Spark Bright Eclipse LED monitors in 8mm. They're simple and easy to install. I had a couple shipped from the UK for around $25.
    Walt Steele

    '02 Ash Black Futura (Wilbers, derestricted, wiring mod, FPR mod, HID headlamp, John Deere not-as-quick disconnect, Powerlet, hugger)
    '18 Royal Enfield Himalayan
    '67 Triumph TR6R

    ďSome people will tell you that slow is good Ė but Iím here to tell you that fast is better. Iíve always believed this, in spite of the trouble itís caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube.Ē Hunter S. Thompson

  5. #20
    apriliaforum expert RAS's Avatar
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    Even after the 4 wire mod, my OE regulator never did better than 14.1V at idle and 13.9 at 4k. It failed pretty much the same way - it was fine until it got hot.

    I've never considered that mounting plate a heat sink - everything down there gets hot. In traffic, the alloy frame gets almost too hot to touch.

    My fans have never misbehaved - on a 200F, off at 190 or so. The book doesn't warn to turn it off until it gets up around 250F, so you were ok. Heck, my Yamaha's fan doesn't even come on until 220F - and that's normal!

    Keep in mind, there are 2 temp sensors - one talks to you thru the dash, the other talks to the ECU. You could be reading a high temp at the dash, but the ECU not seeing it if that sensor is faulty.

    With the regulator failed, wonder if there's enough AC voltage leaking thru to confuse the ECU?

  6. #21
    apriliaforum expert Futura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokomoto View Post
    http://www.sparkbright.co.uk/sparkri...ge-monitor.php

    I ordered a couple the Spark Bright Eclipse LED monitors in 8mm. They're simple and easy to install. I had a couple shipped from the UK for around $25.
    Some years ago, I installed shunt resistors to measure current. Hoping to finish the project with a volt and ammeter, if I can get them to like each other.

    The problem will be the shunts create only 1mv per amp. It will be too easy for that to get distorted on the trip up to the meter. Need a voltage amplifier.

    Planning to build a small switch and meter panel above the front fuse block:

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    It WILL be mine soon...
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    Last edited by Futura; 03-03-2019 at 02:16 PM.

  7. #22
    apriliaforum expert Futura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAS View Post
    Even after the 4 wire mod, my OE regulator never did better than 14.1V at idle and 13.9 at 4k. It failed pretty much the same way - it was fine until it got hot.

    I've never considered that mounting plate a heat sink - everything down there gets hot. In traffic, the alloy frame gets almost too hot to touch.

    My fans have never misbehaved - on a 200F, off at 190 or so. The book doesn't warn to turn it off until it gets up around 250F, so you were ok. Heck, my Yamaha's fan doesn't even come on until 220F - and that's normal!

    Keep in mind, there are 2 temp sensors - one talks to you thru the dash, the other talks to the ECU. You could be reading a high temp at the dash, but the ECU not seeing it if that sensor is faulty.

    With the regulator failed, wonder if there's enough AC voltage leaking thru to confuse the ECU?
    Yes, exactly. Seems the regulator is losing its mojo. I have been doing well to get 14.3v. Hard to blame the reg for ageing, for where it has had to live.

    As you say, the plate is not a very good heat sink if it is surrounded by engine heat.

    I am considering another cooler location for the new, bigger regulator, but there are few places. Maybe under the seat in the tool nook. Any ideas for new locations?

    Taking a look under the seat, the only way the SH847 would fit, is upside-down. Not sure this is a good place. Probably have to stick to the original location for now.

    EDIT: I was just thinking, if the regulator is relocated a distance away, you now have the 3 phases carrying high current and high variable frequency. A good possibility to create magnetic interference into other wiring. Maybe good to try to find a separate routing or to braid them together.

    Good point you made on the dual sensors. The thermistor driving the ECU switch should be pretty reliable, but you never know.

    Trying to find the part numbers on the parts diagram. Hard to find.

    Second very good point on the AC leakage component. I was thinking the same thing. Could also be interference from the HID ballasts.

    I had another strange observation yesterday.

    I have my headlight supplies coming straight off my new fuse block, heavy wiring and all.

    For 10 years, always worked fine.

    Yesterday, I pulled the HID fuses (high and low separate ckts), and placed a 20 amp multimeter in the loop. None of the headlights would fire up! The fluttered and sputtered, but would never light.

    Wondering what it is about the ammeter loop displeased the HIDs. The meter works fine for high DC current for anything else...
    Last edited by Futura; 03-03-2019 at 02:12 PM.

  8. #23
    apriliaforum expert Futura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaz_666 View Post
    In my 12 years of Futura ownership, I have observed this exact behavior twice - many years apart. After the second time, I installed an override switch so that I could turn the fans on manually an any time, in case they failed to start on their own. That was 3 years ago, and I haven't had to use the switch.
    Glad to know I am not seeing things. Saw it quite clearly though. Made a video. I still consider it may be something other than sensor failure. I did an override in my car for similar reasons. An option to consider, if I see this more often and can't solve otherwise. That would be me, never use the switch. Used it many times in the car until sorting. It was the fan motor itself, in that case.

  9. #24
    apriliaforum expert Futura's Avatar
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    From the V-Strom Brochure:

    "Performance-Enhancing Electrics. A newly designed, open-type rectifier disconnects the magneto when it is not generating electricity. Plus, the magneto is more efficient than that of the previous V-Strom 1000. These two advances reduce mechanical losses, resulting in stronger torque at low and mid-range engine speeds."

    http://www.suzuki.nl/nmg/up/ZemolcyI...mation_new.pdf

  10. #25
    apriliaforum expert rblue02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaz_666 View Post
    In my 12 years of Futura ownership, I have observed this exact behavior twice - many years apart. After the second time, I installed an override switch so that I could turn the fans on manually at any time, in case they failed to start on their own. That was 3 years ago, and I haven't had to use the switch.
    Dan, of same forum name, had the fans fail to run on the
    Black Point Wildlife Drive in Titusville FL, with gators lounging nearby.
    Think he attributed it to low Battery V. A search may find it.
    '02 Futura, Blue
    99.5k miles and ok, it's old.

  11. #26
    apriliaforum expert Futura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rblue02 View Post
    Dan, of same forum name, had the fans fail to run on the
    Black Point Wildlife Drive in Titusville FL, with gators lounging nearby.
    Think he attributed it to low Battery V. A search may find it.
    That is funny! Maybe not for him...

    I am pretty sure my battery was still holding 12ish. Would be sad if that was the fan shutdown threshold, if there even is one, but maybe the ECU tring to keep the engine running.

    I am willing to think it was starving for power, even though clearly decent voltage, it was around the time when the old reg was fritzing out.

    Better than no hypothesis at all.

  12. #27
    apriliaforum expert Futura's Avatar
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    Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!

    I left the stock regulator connectors as an alternate, in case I need to swap back for any reason.

    Testing the old regulator for the last time, 14.3 volts and 17 amps on the AC, idling, just after starting.

    At it's best, it was making 14.35 with the old regulator... when it decided to have output...


    I already have the Mac daddy wiring, 10 AWG to the battery and to the frame, from the regulator.

    So, the first test of the new regulator SH847AA...

    It is making 14.65 nearest the regulator!

    Still about 12 amps on the AC. Thought that would be much less...

    Now I can worry about cooking the battery?

    Mostly impervious to RPM, it tapers a bit near 7000, to 14.3 volts.

    We shall see what happens when warm and after replenishing the start.

    10PM here, can't rev too much, don't want to annoy the neighbours....
    Last edited by Futura; 03-05-2019 at 06:10 AM.

  13. #28
    apriliaforum expert Futura's Avatar
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    Sorry about upside down photos...


    Epoxy potting fractured on the old regulator. Probably just heat and age vs burning.
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    New regulator install
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    Old reg stator current
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    Last edited by Futura; 03-08-2019 at 04:40 AM.

  14. #29
    apriliaforum newb TrackDayJack's Avatar
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    My R/R failed. Voltage at battery terminals was 13.7V @idle and dropped to 13.3V or worse @5krpm; the voltage probably fell even more after the unit heated up. After charging the battery full and riding for 2 hours the bike would not start anymore.

    I replaced it with this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/153492553626 "OTOTEK motorcycle regulator rectifier M316". It came with the connectors so I just cut the original connector from the failed unit and made short adapters to connect the new unit.



    The bike charges again.
    Last edited by TrackDayJack; 08-08-2019 at 03:02 AM.
    RST1000 Futura '03, with scratches

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