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Old 05-08-2011, 02:22 PM   #1
EnderTheX OP
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How do you check if the alternator is functioning properly.

Hey yall, I thought I would start a new thread specific to this topic.

Can someone explain how to check if the alternator is working? Is there somewhere to hook up directly to the alternator wires and get a reading? Can you do it solely from the battery leads?

If someone can explain it to me I can go do it and post up some detailed pictures

Thanks!
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Old 05-08-2011, 03:30 PM   #2
ebrabaek
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I have not worked on this stator before..... But they operate the same. As Finn said.... open circuit is bad...... heat or something else have broken the circuit...or so. There are 3 primary wires coming from the stator.....yielding ac voltage. Try to set the meter to ac.... and you should have 40-80 volts ac....between each of the three phase. Ie ...Y1...Y2....Y3 ...first between y1 and y2......then y2 and y3....then y3 and y1.... that should be done around 3000 rpm......but in many instances will yield same results at idle...unless there is a big draw on the circuit. If any of those three legs don`t yield ac....stator is toast..... Then it`s on to the RR..... Easiest way..... measure the battery volt...before engine start...... then start the motor.... should jump to about 14,6 volts...minimum.
Post the results........ Boy Dallas is hot and muggy...... Just got home from an overnighter....For the TCU grads.....

Erling

Edit: Just wan`t to clarify the procedure Finn posted above..... Use same 3 leads.....as measuring the ac voltage.... Bike off..... and plug disconnected...... any open measurement..... is bad..... like y1 and y2..... then y2 and y3....etc. Those should be about 0.5 ohms... If they are open....that means that circuit is bad. The take each of the legs and measure to ground.....No continuity is good....ie... you want an open circuit here... If you don`t ...that means that part of that coil is short circuited to ground.

edit2: for clarification...

ebrabaek screwed with this post 05-08-2011 at 06:27 PM
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Old 05-08-2011, 05:11 PM   #3
cathulu
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Just to correct, 0 ohms is a short circuit. An open circut will be "infinte" ohms - at least in the hundreds of megohms anyways...
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cathulu View Post
Just to correct, 0 ohms is a short circuit. An open circut will be "infinte" ohms - at least in the hundreds of megohms anyways...
Your right..... I could have written that a bit better.....


Erling
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:03 PM   #5
EnderTheX OP
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I'm screwed....

OK... After relieving some stress by changing some tires and downing a few rum and cokes, I get to checking the alternator. My battery is still charging three hours later (on the junior tender)... totally screwed.

Here is a quick summary with pictures to back it up in case my method is off...

If you look at the connector (picture 2) I call the left wire "1", middle "2" and right "3".

Resistance between the wires, 1-2, 1-3, 2-3 all come to about 0.2 or 0.3 ohms.

When the bike is running at 3k RPM here are the values for AC voltage:

1-2: 8.7V
1-3: 1.9V
2-3: 12.4V

At idle the voltages were about 10% lower.

Could someone please duplicate this on their functional bike as a control? I would like to compare values...


So this is where I access the plug:





I think this is the plug circled in red:





I can get my probes in contact without disconnecting the plug like this:





Here is the typical resistance measurement when the bike is off:






This is how I measured the AC voltage, this is 1-2... (1-3 was 1.9V, 2-3 was 12.4V).




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Old 05-08-2011, 07:23 PM   #6
JoelWisman
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That looks like the plug to me. The AC voltage readings are consistant with a shorted stator. The resistance readings don't say much, but consumer multimeters aren't going to say much regarding resistance unless in very experienced hands.

If your in warranty, I'd take it to a dealer.

If your not in warranty, remove the stator and bring it into an alternator or motor shop for baking or rewinding.

The stator is easy to remove, if memory serves, all you need is 8 and 10mm sockets and a torque wrench acurate at low values.

The stator is bolted to the inside of the left engine cover, so you will need that gasket. Worse case, the stator rewind and gasket SHOULD cost around $100.00

Good luck

P.S. Your black test lead is in the wrong hole. It probably won't make any difference as long as your multi meter does not use a solid state shunt and your fuse is good, but for reference, the black lead goes in the "com" terminal for all but amperage readings.
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelWisman View Post
That looks like the plug to me. The AC voltage readings are consistant with a shorted stator. The resistance readings don't say much, but consumer multimeters aren't going to say much regarding resistance unless in very experienced hands.

If your in warranty, I'd take it to a dealer.

If your not in warranty, remove the stator and bring it into an alternator or motor shop for baking or rewinding.

The stator is easy to remove, if memory serves, all you need is 8 and 10mm sockets and a torque wrench acurate at low values.

The stator is bolted to the inside of the left engine cover, so you will need that gasket. Worse case, the stator rewind and gasket SHOULD cost around $100.00

Good luck

P.S. Your black test lead is in the wrong hole. It probably won't make any difference as long as your multi meter does not use a solid state shunt and your fuse is good, but for reference, the black lead goes in the "com" terminal for all but amperage readings.
Cool... thanks for the info. I really hope I am still in warranty!!! If I am not I am certainly going to try the re-wind route, no sense spending a ton of money if not needed...

Did I mention I suck at electrical issue and this is a brand new multimeter? Thanks for the tip, I hope the readings are still good...
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:44 PM   #8
ebrabaek
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As Joel said.....Bad stator........ I would like to echo what Joel said about the black lead...... Just to be safe.... The tests should be run with it in the com. ( ground) plug on the meter...... I`m not familiar with the Craftsman.....But Mine will not measure ac volts with the black in the amp receptacle..... If that is in fact true readings... your stator is toast....... Sorry. I guess I was wrong earlier......

Erling
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:26 AM   #9
The Griz
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Another way to check if the alternator is working properly is to simply touch the + and - pins of the tester to the + and - terminals of the battery while the bike is running. Multimeter should be set to DC voltage with the decimal point positioned as so: 00.0. It should read a constant of around 14+v when the bike is running, and drop back down to around 10-12v when the bike is off. The reason the voltage is greater when the bike is running is due to the fact that the alternator is spinning and charging the battery. If the voltage does not read above 12v when the bike is running, then the alternator/charging system is not working.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:53 AM   #10
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Yep... at 4k RPM my battery terminals read a whopping 12.7V

Now I just hope I can make it to the dealer without dying on the side of the highway, I think I can if I charge the battery all the way up, 40 minute ride... I think the bike is mostly running off battery power because it drains it so fast.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:13 PM   #11
JoelWisman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Griz View Post
Another way to check if the alternator is working properly is to simply touch the + and - pins of the tester to the + and - terminals of the battery while the bike is running. Multimeter should be set to DC voltage with the decimal point positioned as so: 00.0. It should read a constant of around 14+v when the bike is running, and drop back down to around 10-12v when the bike is off. The reason the voltage is greater when the bike is running is due to the fact that the alternator is spinning and charging the battery. If the voltage does not read above 12v when the bike is running, then the alternator/charging system is not working.
This is true from a general sense, though I would use different figures.

Under modest load, a fully charged and healthy AGM battery will rest at 12.8v at 68 degrees F. If the temperature is lower, the resting voltage will be lower and visa-versa. The coefficient for resting voltage change is usually less then .01 volts per degree F but can be relevant if it is very cold or hot. Also different brands of AGM battery can have slightly different chemistry that changes battery resting voltage .1 volts or so, to say nothing of different styles of lead acid batteries such as gel or flooded. Lastly some batteries for motorcycle use are no longer even lead acid based.

In general, above 12.8 volts while the bike is idling means the charging system is producing something, but the reverse is not as conclusive and this still does not mean the charging system is working as it should.

If a battery is healthy but heavily discharged, readings at the battery below 12.8 volts DO NOT mean the charging system is not working perfectly. A heavily discharged battery will absorb all current from a working charging system for some time before every getting above 12.8 volts.

Another possibility is the load is excessive and preventing the charging system from keeping up and exceeding 12.8 volts. A common cause of this is too many accessories attached to motorcycle and switched on. Another possible cause is a battery with a shorted cell.

Once again, a voltage above 12.8 when the bike is idling, preferably above 13.2 volts, is a very good sign. Being below 12.8 volts while idling is not conclusive that there is a defect or failure.


to conclusively find charging, starting and load failures quickly, I need a current shunt or inductive DC current pickup. AC voltage readings and very accurate DC voltage readings, and a megger.

To conclusively test the PM alternator in our bikes...
First test the AC voltage from pin to pin at the alternator plug just like Ender did. With the rectifier / voltage regulator unhooked you should be seeing 18+ volts at each of the alternator pins (assuming your meter is good and it's hooked up right :) if you do not, your alternator is BAD.

Next, test current output of each leg of the 3 phase alternator. This is done with a carbon pile and some specifications I do not have, but could extrapolate from a properly working same bike. If the current is too low, the alternator is BAD.

Finally check the stator insulation resistance with a megger. High resistance good, low BAD.

Only once an alternator passes all the above tests can it be said to be good with confidence. A failure of any of the above tests means its BAD.

Passing all of these tests does not mean your charging system is working as there are other components in the system as well.


I haven't personally seen any stator failures on the F800GS, but I have heard about more then I would like to and some of my customers are concerned.

Hopefully you are under warranty EnderTheX, but if you are not, PM or call me and I will help find a motor or alternator shop that can bake or rewind it. The cost of the entire alternator is disconcerting, but the stator is the only part I expect to ever see failures on and should be possible to make better then new for little cost and effort. I have a vested interest in making this problem minor :)
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:23 PM   #12
EnderTheX OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTown View Post
To stretch out my life without an alternator to get to help, I unplugged the headlight.
Obviously that has some safety concerns, but safer to be carful and get there vs. being on the side of the highway.
Maybe you could mention that your regional BMW rep is aware of this issue, and helped me with my warranty work, that is if your dealer doesn't play ball with warrantying this failure.

Good luck!

Thanks, I may try that since I will be riding in the daytime to the dealer and I know it is easy to unplug the lamp. I may also ask you for contact info for your rep if something happens.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelWisman View Post
Hopefully you are under warranty EnderTheX, but if you are not, PM or call me and I will help find a motor or alternator shop that can bake or rewind it. The cost of the entire alternator is disconcerting, but the stator is the only part I expect to ever see failures on and should be possible to make better then new for little cost and effort. I have a vested interest in making this problem minor :)

I am pretty sure I am still in the three year window for warranty since my bike was originally purchased beginning of 09 so it should be good until beginning of next year... 2012 (right...?).

I've run into a string of bad luck recently (separate from my bike too) so I wouldn't be surprised if I am asking for a place that can rework the stator. I certainly appreciate help with sourcing a repair shop since my quick research online for a local shop didn't show anything promising.


I will also run the test again when I get home to see if putting the lead in the right spot has the same results
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelWisman View Post
This is true from a general sense, though I would use different figures.

Under modest load, a fully charged and healthy AGM battery will rest at 12.8v at 68 degrees F. If the temperature is lower, the resting voltage will be lower and visa-versa. The coefficient for resting voltage change is usually less then .01 volts per degree F but can be relevant if it is very cold or hot. Also different brands of AGM battery can have slightly different chemistry that changes battery resting voltage .1 volts or so, to say nothing of different styles of lead acid batteries such as gel or flooded. Lastly some batteries for motorcycle use are no longer even lead acid based.

In general, above 12.8 volts while the bike is idling means the charging system is producing something, but the reverse is not as conclusive and this still does not mean the charging system is working as it should.

If a battery is healthy but heavily discharged, readings at the battery below 12.8 volts DO NOT mean the charging system is not working perfectly. A heavily discharged battery will absorb all current from a working charging system for some time before every getting above 12.8 volts.

Another possibility is the load is excessive and preventing the charging system from keeping up and exceeding 12.8 volts. A common cause of this is too many accessories attached to motorcycle and switched on. Another possible cause is a battery with a shorted cell.

Once again, a voltage above 12.8 when the bike is idling, preferably above 13.2 volts, is a very good sign. Being below 12.8 volts while idling is not conclusive that there is a defect or failure.


to conclusively find charging, starting and load failures quickly, I need a current shunt or inductive DC current pickup. AC voltage readings and very accurate DC voltage readings, and a megger.

To conclusively test the PM alternator in our bikes...
First test the AC voltage from pin to pin at the alternator plug just like Ender did. With the rectifier / voltage regulator unhooked you should be seeing 18+ volts at each of the alternator pins (assuming your meter is good and it's hooked up right :) if you do not, your alternator is BAD.

Next, test current output of each leg of the 3 phase alternator. This is done with a carbon pile and some specifications I do not have, but could extrapolate from a properly working same bike. If the current is too low, the alternator is BAD.

Finally check the stator insulation resistance with a megger. High resistance good, low BAD.

Only once an alternator passes all the above tests can it be said to be good with confidence. A failure of any of the above tests means its BAD.

Passing all of these tests does not mean your charging system is working as there are other components in the system as well.


I haven't personally seen any stator failures on the F800GS, but I have heard about more then I would like to and some of my customers are concerned.

Hopefully you are under warranty EnderTheX, but if you are not, PM or call me and I will help find a motor or alternator shop that can bake or rewind it. The cost of the entire alternator is disconcerting, but the stator is the only part I expect to ever see failures on and should be possible to make better then new for little cost and effort. I have a vested interest in making this problem minor :)
Good stuff here Joel.

However, the exact resting DC voltage of a 12v DC battery will change depending on battery manufacturer, battery design, and battery type (lithium ion, lithium polymer, or lead acid). This is why I used a broader voltage scope.
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:12 PM   #14
JoelWisman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Griz View Post
Good stuff here Joel.

However, the exact resting DC voltage of a 12v DC battery will change depending on battery manufacturer, battery design, and battery type (lithium ion, lithium polymer, or lead acid). This is why I used a broader voltage scope.
The resting voltage does change, but not that much for lead acid chemistry at reasonable temperatures. A quick check of my factory battery (the good grey one) is with it fully charged, idling with the alternator disconnected is 12.6 volts. As a quick check, I want to see something well above 12 volts when idling to assume everything is peachy.

On a fully charged battery, anything below 13.4 volts at idle is cause for concern that at the least, load is heavy or battery is discharged. This is true at all temperatures and with all chemistry of batteries compatible with our charging systems.

I doubt voltage will fall below 12 on a good fully charged battery till at least a half hour after the charging system has failed.
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:34 PM   #15
EnderTheX OP
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Hey check this out:

http://www.electrosport.com/street-b...phase-102.html

This looks like a brand new part to replace the OEM stator. It is only $125!

I would assume the F650GS stator is the same as the F800GS?

I also found this site: https://www.rmstator.com/en/motorcyc...categories.htm

It looks like they repair stators...

So the brand new stator that is after market is $125 and to repair a stator it is $150... hmmm... Do you think there is anything special about the OEM stator compared to a replacement?
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