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Old 12-17-2011, 12:20 PM   #1
Poncharello OP
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Question Alternators, regulators, stators oh my!!

Sooo, not many here know me, but just take my word for how retarded I am when it comes to electronic diagnosis and generally anything wiring or testing related. Spee and SikD can attest to this if you need lolz.

Hokay, so, here's my problem:
I'm freezing my ass off going/coming from work so I invested in some heat gear (suuuuuuuper sweet!!!) but as of now it's too much wattage for my stock system to handle. It's draining the battery to the point where the bike starts cutting out while I'm riding it if I have full electrical power to *everything.

Here's *everything:
Heated grips (idk watts), Jacket liner (90w), and gloves (24w).

Here's yet to come:
Heated pant liner (35w) and socks (18w), HID low/hi beams (might decrease the wattage a lil??), Maybe LED brake/running light

My initial solution:
I figured my battery is 8 years old, prolly need a new one. So I just (yesterday) put a new Shorai heavy duty Lithium Iron battery in the Viffer and this morning riding out I got twice as far on full power (almost all the way to work!) as I did with the oem battery, however the same thing happened. Bike started to cut out due to lack of electrical power.

:Edit:
Here's some questions and responses I have received from my other (http://www.http://sloriders.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5672) forum:
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledOl'Bastard
I know it's disgustingly cold where your riding but you can cheat a little buy not running your heat gear at full power? If I might ask, who builds your shit? (Heated Gear). What kind of controller are you using to modulate your gear? A Gerbings controller like I run utilizes a pulse control system. It pulses energy to the gear. It's not just "on" with constant free flowing energy to the item. This helps with the load to some degree. If you have heated gloves, fuck the grips. Another way to cheat the system a little.
I try to only use my gear if I absolutely have to (at least for right now), but in the future I'd *like* to be able to use some or all of it whenever I please. All of my stuff is from 1st Gear (Warm & Safe) except for the grip warmers. This is the controller I'm running and I believe it does the pulse thing. And I've only been using the grips when I don't have the heated gloves on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledOl'Bastard
This may seem pretty elementary but heated gear is designed to be snug, not loose like we normally wear our clothing. It should be the second layer on your body and snug so it transmits heat that is not lost in dead air space. Air is a shitty conductor of heat, and cold for that fact. Doing it this way will allow lower settings saving you wattage.
My gear is as snug as it can be without ripping when I move, but like you said, it's disgustingly cold out there so it takes a lot to keep warm. I'm playing with different layers of clothing in between the liner & the jacket, but it's a tight squeeze.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledOl'Bastard
Lastly, I'm not familiar enough to know what year your ride is. Many of the earlier models had inherent R/R issues so that needs to be cleared up now, too. Anytime your voltage drops below about 13.6-13.8V while your rolling, you will end up in a battery depleted situation like you are now. Not only will that kill your battery, but it will fry your charging system. In the meantime, can you connect to a battery charger when your not riding? The charging system is not designed to recharge a depleted battery,but just top-off a slightly used battery.
I've got a 2003 Honda VFR 800 (ABS Model), there is a recall on the wiring harness and brakes that I have yet to look into to see if it has been done. I'll be getting on that shortly. I do have a trickle charger at my disposal and have been using it as necessary.

Any help/ suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks folks!
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:39 PM   #2
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I have had the same problem running jacket and gloves on my Ninja250.

Solutions:

Is a headlight required to be on during daytime in your state? Unplugging it will save 55 watts.

Switching to a 35w HID light will save somewhere around 20 watts. A bit less, since the ballest isn't completely effecient.

Switching to an LED headlight will save between 40 and 50 watts, depending on the light.
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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Otherwise:
Unplug running lights you don't need. Switch the tail light to an LED to save like 4 watts.
Replacing your Regulator/Rectifier with an improved one will also help. Most R/Rs are simple ineffecient zener-diode based Shunt Regulators. Aftermarket Transistor based Linear Regulators are more effecient.

Pretty much every Honda R/R made in the 1990s dies after 10 years. Don't know if the 2003 ones were any better, but I wouldn't put much faith in it, and it's not an expensive upgrade.
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:25 PM   #4
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It boils down to stator output. First you need to find out how much it takes to run the bike. If it is FI, it will take more to run the ecu, pump and injectors. Then add lights and all the heating gear.

The stator output is AC power, usually in number of watts. To convert to DC (12 volts) multiply by 14. The r/r converts AC to DC to run all the gadgets. It is rated in amps but will always be enough to convert whatever the stator is capable of putting out if the bike is stock.

A larger capacity battery may prolong how long all this works, but only because it can store more energy. If the stator can't generate enough to meet what electric power is being used, it will eventually run down.

If you do not have enough generating power, the only cure is to increase the power it can generate or decrease what is being used. You may need to change the R/R, but only to handle the power a new stator can produce.

Generally you can get more juice out of a stator by increasinng the number of wire windings on it.
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Old 12-17-2011, 06:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsatdm View Post
It boils down to stator output. First you need to find out how much it takes to run the bike. If it is FI, it will take more to run the ecu, pump and injectors. Then add lights and all the heating gear.

The stator output is AC power, usually in number of watts. To convert to DC (12 volts) multiply by 14.
Uh....what?
To convert sine-wave VAC to VDC, you DIVIDE by the square root of 2 (1.4)
To convert watts to amps, you divide by the voltage (usually 14 after rectification).
Quote:
. The r/r converts AC to DC to run all the gadgets. It is rated in amps but will always be enough to convert whatever the stator is capable of putting out if the bike is stock.

A larger capacity battery may prolong how long all this works, but only because it can store more energy. If the stator can't generate enough to meet what electric power is being used, it will eventually run down.
He's saying he put in a different type of battery. That can have an effect on charging effeciency, which can be important. It's probably not important in this case, though.
Quote:
If you do not have enough generating power, the only cure is to increase the power it can generate or decrease what is being used. You may need to change the R/R, but only to handle the power a new stator can produce.
My point here was that R/Rs use and waste a significant amount of power. They're mounted on big heatsinks because of all the heat they waste, so changing to an effecient R/R increases the available power to the bike.
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippii View Post


My point here was that R/Rs use and waste a significant amount of power. They're mounted on big heatsinks because of all the heat they waste, so changing to an effecient R/R increases the available power to the bike.
Skippii,

Shunt type regulators are designed to "waste" power, that is what they are made for. any "Efficiency" really has nothing to do with it. A regulator that is working properly will take any and all excess current above a certain voltage and turn it into heat, there is no increasing of "available power".

In response to the original poster, the simplest thing I can suggest is to put a voltmeter on your bike somewhere and use that to monitor electrical usage. Figure out what you need to fiddle with to keep it at 12.5 or so volts. The proper way to fix this is to install a higher power stator, but personally I'd put a meter on it and see if by selectively turning things off and on you can stay warm and keep the battery charged too.
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreaseMonkey View Post
Skippii,

Shunt type regulators are designed to "waste" power, that is what they are made for. any "Efficiency" really has nothing to do with it. A regulator that is working properly will take any and all excess current above a certain voltage and turn it into heat, there is no increasing of "available power".


That's exactly why I suggested replacing a shunt regulator with a linear regulator, since they are more effecient than shunt regulators.
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreaseMonkey View Post
...the simplest thing I can suggest is to put a voltmeter on your bike somewhere and use that to monitor electrical usage. Figure out what you need to fiddle with to keep it at 12.5 or so volts....
+1

Some bikes may benefit from a high-output stator, and almost anyone with the inefficient reg/rec you have can benefit from upgrading that. But start simple. As they say in firefighting, "try before you pry."

Find a place for a nice digital voltmeter. Putting one of these on the bike really gives you control over real-time power management.

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Old 12-17-2011, 07:56 PM   #9
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Was reading awhile ago on one of the forums about changing the regulator on the klr to one from a different model that had a different number of wires coming out. Was done to save power.I don't pretend to know why the extra wire was not needed tho.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:54 PM   #10
L.B.S.
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"...I'm freezing my ass off..."


Location: San Luis Obispo, Ca



LOL


Sorry, riding around in minus 10* C (not counting windchill @ highway speed), with no electrical clothing, and seeing your "freezing" location, gave me the giggles. I will admit I had the heated grip setting on Deep Fat Fry, (F800ST) and was worshipping at the alter of the Blessed Heat, though

Agree that installing a good little volt meter will at least give you a basic idea of what's going on while you are trying to best manage your power consumption. HID and LED is good, and is what I have had for the past several years on watt-challenged bikes. (ie: CBR125R )

Good hunting!
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Old 12-18-2011, 06:06 AM   #11
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+1 on volt meter.

What I find on the infallible internets is a VFR stator output of 460 to 490 watts. Your EFI, ABS, and perhaps the engine management for the VTEC use more energy than some simpler bikes, but that's not a small alternator. (I run a 70W jacket with alternators of 210W and 238W. On the 170W alternator I can only run the jacket at half-power.)

There are heated grips with highlow settings of 28/40. I'll use a hypothetical 40W: 40 + 90 + 24 = 154 watts needed beyond what the bike uses.

It is possible that your bike uses 320W and adding 154W of heat is too much. It doesn't seem likely to me. A volt meter could tell you if turning off the grips is the difference between go and no-go. It's also possible that your stator (alternator windings) have burnt out and are not producing as much power as they should.

(A lithium-iron battery will forgive being stored while discharged, but the other responders are right that the real issue is watts in vs. watts out.)
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.B.S. View Post
"...I'm freezing my ass off..."


Location: San Luis Obispo, Ca



LOL


Sorry, riding around in minus 10* C (not counting windchill @ highway speed), with no electrical clothing, and seeing your "freezing" location, gave me the giggles. I will admit I had the heated grip setting on Deep Fat Fry, (F800ST) and was worshipping at the alter of the Blessed Heat, though

Agree that installing a good little volt meter will at least give you a basic idea of what's going on while you are trying to best manage your power consumption. HID and LED is good, and is what I have had for the past several years on watt-challenged bikes. (ie: CBR125R )

Good hunting!
That's the first thing I thought too. All that heated gear in SLO.

If you absolutely must run heated gear in the Antarctic foggy conditions you have, run only the pants and jacket. Keeping your core warm will keep everything else warm.
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:01 AM   #13
Poncharello OP
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Ya ya, yuck it up. Here's the temps I'm riding in... (left side of guages, Air Temp)



These are two different mornings. The gauge stops registering when it goes below 14 F (that's -10 Celsius, L. B. S. ;-* ), and these are both at a standstill.



I'm out of Slo but work off the 58 between Slo and Bakersfield. This is why I need the gear ladies ;-*

I've got to run the gloves, right now I'm trying only to run them and not the jacket as the jacket eats most of the power. I plan on switching as many of the bulbs to leds as I can, just installed HID high beams, lows are on order.

Haven't had a chance to test for power outputs while running the bike and all the different gear, but hopefully be able to do it within this next week.

DEFINITELY gonna look into purchasing that mountable digital voltmeter .

Aside the snide comments about the beautiful weather my location normally has (and I agree, when I ride where I normally do) this has been a very helpful thread. I'll keep you up to date when/if I run into more problems. Thank you all so much for the info!

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Old 12-20-2011, 09:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncharello View Post
Ya ya, yuck it up. Here's the temps I'm riding in... (left side of guages, Air Temp)



These are two different mornings. The gauge stops registering when it goes below 14 F (that's -10 Celsius, L. B. S. ;-* ), and these are both at a standstill.



I'm out of Slo but work off the 58 between Slo and Bakersfield. This is why I need the gear ladies ;-*

I've got to run the gloves, right now I'm trying only to run them and not the jacket as the jacket eats most of the power. I plan on switching as many of the bulbs to leds as I can, just installed HID high beams, lows are on order.

Haven't had a chance to test for power outputs while running the bike and all the different gear, but hopefully be able to do it within this next week.

DEFINITELY gonna look into purchasing that mountable digital voltmeter .

Aside the snide comments about the beautiful weather my location normally has (and I agree, when I ride where I normally do) this has been a very helpful thread. I'll keep you up to date when/if I run into more problems. Thank you all so much for the info!


Technically, it appears you didn't ride, as your odometer didn't change, but that's enough smack talk from me. All in good fun, no offense meant




This may be of some help in your investigations: http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/i...t-heated-gear/

I would suggest checking your stator's health a higher priority, and possibly swapping your 90w liner for one that's a little less intense?

Are you using heatroller type adjustable thingies to regulate your gear, or just on/off?

I know they can look like a real eyesore to some, but what about wind deflectors for yer hands? For me, the least aesthetically horrifying are the OEM V-Strom ones, for a street bike.

As another possible alternator-itive (heh heh) is to go with lithium battery powered gloves/jacket liner. (ie: Mobile Warming) http://www.ridersdiscount.com/mobile-warming/

I know, I know, I'm sure all of your arguments and objections are exactly the same ones that I am trying to battle with in my own decision making befuddlement on the topic.

But hey, ya never know until you try, right? No one likes being



ps

Oh, and for sure I would be swapping the lowbeams to HID! That's what, an extra 40 watts or so to free up? As it is, just having the Highs HID isn't doing you any good for savings (unless of course you are presently running your high beams on instead of, or in addition to, your Lows, which would be a bit of a clue as to why you aren't getting enough juice to your gear...)

L.B.S. screwed with this post 12-20-2011 at 09:54 AM
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippii View Post
Uh....what?
To convert sine-wave VAC to VDC, you DIVIDE by the square root of 2 (1.4)
To convert watts to amps, you divide by the voltage (usually 14 after rectification).

He's saying he put in a different type of battery. That can have an effect on charging effeciency, which can be important. It's probably not important in this case, though.

My point here was that R/Rs use and waste a significant amount of power. They're mounted on big heatsinks because of all the heat they waste, so changing to an effecient R/R increases the available power to the bike.

You are right I meant amps. Mine claims 17 at the stator. Times 14 =238 watts of power. My point was if all his gadgets use more power than that, all the regulators and bigger batteries in the world won't create more than what the stator will provide.

What is surprising is how much FI bikes comsume just to run. Not easy to find that number. For a F800gs it is around 150 watts including the lights.
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