Weird volt reading - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
Electrical
Where does this wire go?
Includes Electrical mods, Lights, Stator,
Rectifier, Diagrams, etc

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Cool Weird volt reading

Riding in the hot weather (finally at last). Have a pair of 20 Watt Optronics spots that I installed this winter and on a nice long ride yesterday had them on along with the headlamp. Don't know if it was the heat or the bright sunlight but my Kuryakyn LED battery meter did not seem to have any green lights going. Green occurs at 13 volts or over. I shut the spots off and continued home. The traffic noise was such that I couldn't tell if the fan was on too. No battery discharge seemed evident and I am sure it will be alright.

My question is with the elevated temperature and all that I have read on this forum about the R/R relocation because of heat, could that be affecting the charging system as it heats up? I have NOT relocated as I never saw the need. Anyone have any good knowledge on this? Will appreciate any input (no pun intended).

2003 Wine/Gray VN750 bought in 2005 w/2000 Miles
LED Tail/Brakelight & License Plate Light;Chrome Inspection Sticker Plate ;Battery Charging Quick Plug;Kuryakyn LED Battery Voltmeter;Throttle Rocker Palm Rest;Optronics Driving Lamps;KnifeMaker Floor Boards;Halogen Headlamp Bulb;OEM Engine Guard;Iridium Spark Plugs;OEM Luggage rack;Stebel Air Horn;Handlebar Clock; Handlebar Thermometer; Sealed Battery; Marbled; Leather Grip Covers; Rectangular Mirrors

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 08:42 PM
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I'm thinking the driving lights are drawing too much power. This bike wasn't made for alot of electrical add-ons, especially those with huge power draws. You might try replacing other power draws like the tail light with an LED (Alternatives makes one that I use) that doesn't draw much power at all. Try running with the driving lights off and see if you get the green lights. I have the same meter and constantly get 1 to 2 green lights all the time.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Cliff, the green lights are on when I ride normally. I changed the bulbs in the lights down to 20 watts to be within the output capacity that's really not my issue. The real question is: on a hot day when the bike heats up and there is more heat on the R/R does it affect the voltage output of the alternator?

2003 Wine/Gray VN750 bought in 2005 w/2000 Miles
LED Tail/Brakelight & License Plate Light;Chrome Inspection Sticker Plate ;Battery Charging Quick Plug;Kuryakyn LED Battery Voltmeter;Throttle Rocker Palm Rest;Optronics Driving Lamps;KnifeMaker Floor Boards;Halogen Headlamp Bulb;OEM Engine Guard;Iridium Spark Plugs;OEM Luggage rack;Stebel Air Horn;Handlebar Clock; Handlebar Thermometer; Sealed Battery; Marbled; Leather Grip Covers; Rectangular Mirrors

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemguy View Post
The real question is: on a hot day when the bike heats up and there is more heat on the R/R does it affect the voltage output of the alternator?
Gemguy, here's a good site to learn about how the Stator and the R/R and Battery work together to provide for the electrical needs of a motorcycle. Your question is worded incorrectly only because the R/R doesn't send electricity to the Alternator (Stator), it's the opposite. The stator runs directly off the engine to produce an electric current. It sends this current to the R/R to be regulated to the proper voltage necessary to charge the battery. The current then goes to the battery, charging it during idle and other running speeds. The higher the electrical demand the hotter the R/R gets. If the R/R overheats it doesn't work effectively and may get fried and not charge your battery. Then where does all that current coming from the stator go? It can then fry the stator. So I don't think a hot R/R changes the voltage output of the stator directly.

I hope I'm stating this correctly, as I'm not an electrician or motorcycle mechanic/techincian. Bottom line is that it's NOT GOOD for the R/R to get too hot too often. It's a weak link in the charging system. Relocating it to a place where it gets better air flow to cool it down is a good idea. Lowering the electical demand is an even better idea, as the higher the charging requirements on the R/R the hotter it gets. I think it's more important to change to LED lighting as this greatly reduces the electrical demand. You added 40 watts to your system and then noticed the voltmeter indicated poor charging. That's putting quite a strain on your R/R, possibly to the point where it's overheating. You can relocate it or lower the demand on it, or both.

Rubyrick

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Rubyrick, you are right I did mistate the system. The regulator/rectifier is what changes the alternator voltage from AC to DC and then regulates it to charging voltage of 12 to 14 volts DC. I looked into LEDs but the only practical thing is the tail light because in changing the directionals I would need to get the electronic flasher units So I wonder how much changing one bulb contributes to a lower current draw. I know it will but is it significant?

The question I would like to ask is if the heat of the day say a temperature of 95 degrees plus the heat coming off the motor on a hot day will affect the R/R to malfunction and possibly deliver a lower voltage to the charging system (or battery). That is what I was questioning.

2003 Wine/Gray VN750 bought in 2005 w/2000 Miles
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Last edited by Gemguy; 04-27-2009 at 10:27 PM.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemguy View Post
The question I would like to ask is if the heat of the day say a temperature of 95 degrees plus the heat coming off the motor on a hot day will affect the R/R to malfunction and possibly deliver a lower voltage to the charging system (or battery). That is what I was questioning.
Personally I don't think the external temperature is the major factor in causing an R/R malfunction. Certainly if you idle excessively on a hot day it might make a difference. But if your electrical draw is always high and you consistently idle a lot, even in nice weather, your R/R could overheat. If this is the case, relocate your R/R. It can only help.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemguy View Post
I looked into LEDs but the only practical thing is the tail light because in changing the directionals I would need to get the electronic flasher units So I wonder how much changing one bulb contributes to a lower current draw. I know it will but is it significant?
I posted a while ago on my documented reduced electrical draw when I changed to the LED brake/tail light from Clear Alternatives. Go to post #13 on this thread. I think it was significant and certainly worth the $50. I'm planning on changing to LED turn signals but I will do all 4 at once and use an inexpensive replacement for the turn signal relay from CruiserCustomizing.com, part # BBP-13-306. You can look up a prior post on this part HERE. All together this should provide a moderate reduction in your electrical load. I wonder if there is a headlight out there with a reduced electrical draw, that is as bright or brighter than the our stock headlight.

Rubyrick

MY BABY...
'05 VN750
16,000 miles +
Kawi tank bib
Kawi rear rack
Small windshield
DEKA M/F battery
VN750.com Grill Cover
LED license plate frame
Clear Alternatives LED brake light
Cortech mini tank bag on rear rack
Pirelli MT66 Tires: 110 front / 150 rear
Splines lubed when tires installed at 10,650 miles
Splines lubed again at 14,400 with stubby valve stem install

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Rubyrick, thank you. If you can give me the stock numbers for the brake light and taillight bulb replacements in LED I would appreciate it. I will order and replace these 2 now. At some point I will consider replacing the front marker and directionals with the flasher unit. Is Clear Alternatives the cheapest place to buy these?

2003 Wine/Gray VN750 bought in 2005 w/2000 Miles
LED Tail/Brakelight & License Plate Light;Chrome Inspection Sticker Plate ;Battery Charging Quick Plug;Kuryakyn LED Battery Voltmeter;Throttle Rocker Palm Rest;Optronics Driving Lamps;KnifeMaker Floor Boards;Halogen Headlamp Bulb;OEM Engine Guard;Iridium Spark Plugs;OEM Luggage rack;Stebel Air Horn;Handlebar Clock; Handlebar Thermometer; Sealed Battery; Marbled; Leather Grip Covers; Rectangular Mirrors

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 10:59 PM
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Hey there Gemguy. Clear Alternatives is the manufacturer and seller of this part. It's an LED board for your tail/brake light. Works GREAT! Extremely bright. A bit tricky to get installed, but I did it myself and there's been no problems since.

I believe a fellow Vulcaneer named Bulldog actually got Clear Alternatives to design and manufacture this part for us VN750.com members. Just want to thank him for his good work.

Rubyrick

MY BABY...
'05 VN750
16,000 miles +
Kawi tank bib
Kawi rear rack
Small windshield
DEKA M/F battery
VN750.com Grill Cover
LED license plate frame
Clear Alternatives LED brake light
Cortech mini tank bag on rear rack
Pirelli MT66 Tires: 110 front / 150 rear
Splines lubed when tires installed at 10,650 miles
Splines lubed again at 14,400 with stubby valve stem install

Place your mouse on the X below and drag to the O

X
Even though you can't see Him, GOD is there! O
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-29-2009, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubyrick View Post
Hey there Gemguy. Clear Alternatives is the manufacturer and seller of this part. It's an LED board for your tail/brake light. Works GREAT! Extremely bright. A bit tricky to get installed, but I did it myself and there's been no problems since.

I believe a fellow Vulcaneer named Bulldog actually got Clear Alternatives to design and manufacture this part for us VN750.com members. Just want to thank him for his good work.
You believe correctly, and it does work great; I love mine.

Jim

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'95 Vulcan 750 "Therapy II",
aka "Raggedy Ann"
'95 VN750 project
'03 VN800B "The Little Black"
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-29-2009, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemguy View Post
Rubyrick, thank you. If you can give me the stock numbers for the brake light and taillight bulb replacements in LED I would appreciate it. I will order and replace these 2 now. At some point I will consider replacing the front marker and directionals with the flasher unit. Is Clear Alternatives the cheapest place to buy these?
For the turn signals, try looking at Radiantz 1.85" dual intensity LED clusters when you get around to their conversion. They run $25-$45 online, but you can sometimes find them on eBay for $5 (which is where I bought mine). I posted a writeup on this forum on how to convert the stock bulb bases for simple plug-n-play installation.

Also, don't forget that switching to LED turn signals will require that you also switch the flasher relay from a stock thermal to a no-load electronic model ($12) to keep the 90 flash/second blinker rate.

Added note: I also converted all brake/running and turn signals to LED, even added a second LED brake light. However, I did installed grip heaters (36 max watts on full power) with a heat troller and mechanical voltmeter. I do notice a small voltmeter drops/fluxuations on the meter when running the grip heaters, but nothing significant. So, I got brigher/safer lighting and warm grips with no overall impact to the electrical system. Same would apply to your running lights.


Chris Glennon - Portland, OR

Last edited by cglennon; 04-29-2009 at 12:29 PM.
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