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Old 10-24-2012, 08:00 AM   #1
Gilsao OP
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Question Battery charging voltage

I am having some electrical problems with my motorcycle. It is a BMW R1150 GS Adventure 2003 and I use the Gel Battery.

I belive there may be a problem with the voltage regulator.

Does anyone know what should be output charging voltage for this model?

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Old 10-24-2012, 10:07 AM   #2
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Ahhh the BMW GEL

This machine new to you? How old is the battery? BMW branded battery? You turning the key all the way to "P" after a ride? Welcome to the circus.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:16 AM   #3
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A properly charging alternator will produce about 15 VDC at the battery posts when the engine is at ~3000RPM, maybe a bit more.

The question is, will the battery store and hold this charge?

I would place a battery charger on the battery for several hours, set to charge at a low level, say 2-4 Amps. After charging for several hours, measure the OCV (open circuit voltage). It shoud be 12.6 volts or greater. Next, attach the VOM and measure volts while you turn over the starter and start the engine. A good battery will not dip below 10 volts while load is applied.

Report back with your findings.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilsao View Post
I am having some electrical problems with my motorcycle. It is a BMW R1150 GS Adventure 2003 and I use the Gel Battery.

I belive there may be a problem with the voltage regulator.

Does anyone know what should be output charging voltage for this model?


With the battery attached, it controls the voltage. The alternator provides current to the battery, which brings up the measured voltage.

If you have a dead cell or 2 the voltage will be low even with a good charging system.

A little more info on the "problem" might help get good answers.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:31 AM   #5
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A battery charger thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by def View Post
A properly charging alternator will produce about 15 VDC at the battery posts when the engine is at ~3000RPM, maybe a bit more.

The question is, will the battery store and hold this charge?

I would place a battery charger on the battery for several hours, set to charge at a low level, say 2-4 Amps. After charging for several hours, measure the OCV (open circuit voltage). It shoud be 12.6 volts or greater. Next, attach the VOM and measure volts while you turn over the starter and start the engine. A good battery will not dip below 10 volts while load is applied.

Report back with your findings.


Would this be a charger compatible with or specifically for a GEL battery? Just curious.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by pcwirepro View Post


Would this be a charger compatible with or specifically for a GEL battery? Just curious.
For quick top off, any charger with limited voltage will do. Automatic chargers with desulfating programs should not be used. Most automatic chargers will not go into the desulfating mode unless charging at a higher setting, hence the selection of a low charge rate.

What is needed here is a baseline charge in order to evaluate the battery as well as the alternator on the bike.

Typically, BMW alternators are very reliable and rarely need anything more than a new belt every couple years.
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:33 PM   #7
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I run a cockpit volt meter on my 04 GSA, it sits at 13.8 or 13.9 volts until you really load it up and it dips to about 13.6. These figures are regardless of RPM.

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Old 10-24-2012, 02:09 PM   #8
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The Bosch alternator on this motorcycle is set at about 14 volts, not 15.

Rod
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:59 PM   #9
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Agreed. My meds are out of whack...13-14 volts voltage from the alternator is correct.

I was thinking of my motorhome 150 Amp alternator...it runs about 15 volts for a few minutes before coming down a bit.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:16 PM   #10
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Question More information

The battery voltage will depend on many things...

If fully charged, in reasonable condition and the charging system is not under too great a load then the battery voltage will depend on the temperature!

For reasonable temperatures about 14 volts is what you would expect.
See http://www.batteryfaq.org/ for much more information...

If you want further help you will need to describe the problem in detail.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:22 PM   #11
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The Bosch alternator we use regulates at it's output post This is common in Europe, and not common in the USA. This is significant because if there is a bad ground or bad connection, the alternator does not have a sense lead, to sense the extra drop and crank up the voltage.

Bosch builds a very fine alternator, they do not fail often, and it takes well over 100 K miles to wear one out. So, 99 times out of 100, if there is a low voltage at the battery, there is a poor connection somewhere. Check the grounds and power lead at both ends.

Rod
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragtoplvr View Post
The Bosch alternator we use regulates at it's output post This is common in Europe, and not common in the USA. This is significant because if there is a bad ground or bad connection, the alternator does not have a sense lead, to sense the extra drop and crank up the voltage.

Bosch builds a very fine alternator, they do not fail often, and it takes well over 100 K miles to wear one out. So, 99 times out of 100, if there is a low voltage at the battery, there is a poor connection somewhere. Check the grounds and power lead at both ends.

Rod
The alternator in my R1100GS has done 317,000km, I did check the bearings at 280,000km when I replaced the motor,
The bearings were fine, I just added a little grease, and the brushed were bearly worn.
I do like the way that BMW mount them high to keep the mud and water out, unlike most 4x4's where it is mounted low in the engine bay.
For 12 volt systems the charging voltage should be 13.5 to 14.2 volts with a fully charged battery.
Power issues can be, dead cell in the battery, bad earth, loose/dirty battery leads, and starter motor issues.
Idealy always start with the battery, fully charge it with a plug in charger, and test under load when cranking the motor, should not drop below 9.5 volts, however if the starter is worn it will draw more current.
The battery can be tested with a tester that measures the internal resistance and state of charge, most automotive battery places have them.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:36 PM   #13
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Bumping an old but relevant thread....

I have the low voltage/battery lamp lighting up on my 99 R1100RT. Has been doing this for a very long time and I've never noticed any ill effects. But now I'm trying to sell the bike, and I like to fix any issues before selling.

I bought a sealed voltage indicator that someone was selling on here (ADVMonster), connected it directly to the 2nd battery (police bike), and went for a ride. Regulator does not put out full voltage until 10-30 seconds after starting, but then it is at 13.8-14 volts consistently. Ran it until it was fully warmed up, same 13.8-14 volts. At idle, still 13.8-14 volts. Only reason it went between 13.8 and 14 was when I turned the headlights and fog lights on or off.

So what the heck gives? Why is the battery indicator lamp on the dash lighting up?
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:49 PM   #14
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Joey,

Roger04RT can tell you about the alternator light issue you have. Seems it has to do with the starter IIRC.
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:50 AM   #15
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Joey,

Roger04RT can tell you about the alternator light issue you have. Seems it has to do with the starter IIRC.
I think I found the thread on bmwsporttouring that you're referring to:
http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthread...=811489&page=5

That gives me some good clues to investigate, thanks! What a weird system.
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