Charging Problem due to Flashing Head Lamp - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-18-2010, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Charging Problem due to Flashing Head Lamp

Here is the story:

Being the Safety Conscious guy that I am, I installed a High-Beam Head Light Flasher, for day-time use once the warranty was up (3 yrs).
Works great and it automatically stops flashing at dusk. Awesome so far, BTW head-on collisions have been avoided in this manner.

About 2 yrs after Flasher installation the RLU decides to quit because, after all, when the Head-Light Flasher Operates the RLU senses
this as a bad High-Beam and turns on the low-beam, so High-Low, High-Low we go. Well, now Only High-Dim-High-Dim.
I bought a good used RLU but didn’t install because it would just go bad again due to the Flasher.

Well, three years later the Voltage is lower while the bike is running then when I first placed a freshly charged battery in there.
With the Head-Lamp and Tail fuses pulled than I can get a decent voltage, but only 13.5V @ 4K RPM, with fuses in 12.78V @ 4K RPM.

The R/R gets hot, the Generator wires get Hot, the R/R fails “COLD” Meter Resistance Checks. I suspect a Diode got ‘tired’ of modulating
In rhythm with the Surge/Sag that the Head-Lamp flasher was causing (could also notice tail light flickering in rhythm).

So, the Big Fix: Replace the R/R, install the used RLU, Beef-up the Generator Wires, Install a LARGE Electrolytic Capacitor and go.

The thought here is that there is less of a Surge/Sag when you go from High to Low Beam during Flash. The lack of RLU caused a much higher
Surge/Sag potential working the R/R Diodes to death… Literally. The R/R is a completely sealed unit beyond economical repair, New $119-168.

OEM Head Lamp is 60W (5A) High Beam and 55W (4.58A) Low Beam: A fluctuation of .5A with SLU working instead of 5A on/off without.

Do you guys have any thoughts and/or experience with this?

Last edited by w4nmh; 09-18-2010 at 01:48 AM.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-18-2010, 02:24 AM
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I have no clue but i am interested as I have a headlight modulator.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-18-2010, 07:11 AM
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All I can say is that, I myself have been using a Kisan headlight modulator for over 3 years now without any problems with the charging system. My regulator and rectifier were replaced over 3 years ago, before installing the modulator, and the original RLU is still the original.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-18-2010, 12:22 PM
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I am no electronic whiz, but I do not think the headlight MODULATOR should cause the RLU to fail in the manner which you describe. In my understanding, the reserve lighting unit senses when the operating headlight element fails by burning off or breaking. The modulator is not a "flasher" in the same sense that the turn signals are. The turn signals do operate in a cycle from completely open to closed, or zero power to 100% power over and over. Headlight modulators operate in a cycle from approximately 30-100% power, never completely shutting off, so should not trigger the RLU.

I do not know how to account for the electrical failures you have experienced with the RLU and r/r, but I suspect the cause is something other than the modulator.

So in response to your idea for the "big fix", you may need to replace the r/r, but normal operation requires it to get hot while grounding out excess current. I have no knowledge of any way to test the RLU other than replacing it. Regarding capacitors, I have a basic understanding of how one works in an old breaker points ignition system, where it charges and discharges for each plug spark. However I don`t quite follow how you think the capacitor is going to remedy the problem with the r/r and RLU. Is it going to cycle in step with the modulator?

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-18-2010, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlHossCanada View Post
I am no electronic whiz, but I do not think the headlight MODULATOR should cause the RLU to fail in the manner which you describe. In my understanding, the reserve lighting unit senses when the operating headlight element fails by burning off or breaking.
Thank You for your input/comments.

I can say with 100% certainty that when the RLU is working and the Modulator is active, I see both the High and Low Beam alternate as well as a failed head lamp indicator flashing on the Dash.

The thought on the Capacitor is to keep the Voltage constant so the R/R is not swinging to meet the demands of the modulating load, they essentially will be absorbed by the discharging capacitor.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-19-2010, 03:55 AM
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Quote:
The thought on the Capacitor is to keep the Voltage constant so the R/R is not swinging to meet the demands of the modulating load, they essentially will be absorbed by the discharging capacitor.
A capacitor will have very little effect to the operation of the charging system. For under 120$ you can find a 0.47F capacitor which discharges to a 60W load (headlamp) from 14V (charging voltage) to 12.6V (battery idle voltage) in about 0.12 seconds. A cheaper, under 20$, 0.1F capacitor discharges in 25 milliseconds. And you would have to put in a power diode to prevent the capacitor from supplying the power to the whole system instead of the headlamp only.

The R/R will try to maintain a constant charging voltage. As soon as the capacitor voltage drops below this, the current comes from the R/R anyway.

What I am trying to prove here is, that installing a 'buffer' capacitor is useless.

If I understood correctly, you said that the modulator switches between high and low beam. If this is the case it might help to install large capacitors between the modulator input and outputs. This connection however will cause the capacitors to be discharged through the modulator, and the modulator may not withstand it.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-19-2010, 09:31 AM
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As an aside, I wonder about our perceptions of ourselves on our bikes. We find it perfectly normal to ride with expensive flashing headlights and tail lights, or simmilar gadgets, some with questionalble effect, some pretty good. Some of us don't bother, but we accept it as a reasonable response to dangerous drivers.
But NOT ONE OF US has ever considered riding around with our four-way flashers on.
We would think that it would make us look afraid, or just odd. It would be a heck of a lot cheaper, and would not change any circuitry.

What are your thoughts?


Jim
'95 Kawasaki Concours

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I do LOTS of dumb stuff. Riding is only one of them.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-19-2010, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimkonst View Post
As an aside, I wonder about our perceptions of ourselves on our bikes.

But NOT ONE OF US has ever considered riding around with our four-way flashers on.

We would think that it would make us look afraid, or just odd. It would be a heck of a lot cheaper, and would not change any circuitry.

What are your thoughts?
In most states if you are running the speed limit with your flashers on you will get pulled over and questioned about the "Emergency."

I have put them on, briefly, in heavy traffic on the highway when things slowed quite quickly.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-19-2010, 02:09 PM
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Junkyarddog said he ran them at 35 mph and below.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-19-2010, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Adding Capacitor Across Modulator Input

Quote:
Originally Posted by pappa View Post

If I understood correctly, you said that the modulator switches between high and low beam. If this is the case it might help to install large capacitors between the modulator input and outputs. This connection however will cause the capacitors to be discharged through the modulator, and the modulator may not withstand it.
Thank you for the comments.

The RLU briefly switches on Low Beam when the Modulator switches off the High Beam.

In the Electronics Engineering world Capacitors are placed across a changing load, such as Electronic Switches, to smooth out the fluctuations in the Power Supply Stage.

In this case, the Headlight Modulator is an Electronic Switch so a Capacitor across the Modulator Input would help protect the R/R, in Theory.
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charging problems , charging system , headlamp modulator , low voltage , stator wires

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