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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
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Post Electric Vulcanland

Ma Kawi did a great job on the electrical system for our bikes, right? Well in all fairness, who is anyone to say any different unless they can do a better job themselves, right? I guess we'll see. . .

This project is a total revamp of the electrical system from stator to spark-plug. As i am writing this i already know it's going to be a long term project, but rather than just setting it aside on the back-burning wish list, it may as well be documented open-source right here for anyone that wants to pick it up themselves at a later time, pitch in along the way, or just read through and get a little education about electrical systems in general. At the get-go, it has two goals from my perspective; to have a great bike, and to learn a lot in the process.

Please keep in mind, i am only a tinkering rider that has a degree in electronics, but has been self-educated in the field for the most-part over the years as technology has changed. So, please feel free to correct me when i'm wrong, when i'm missing the point, when the idea is over-my-head, when a better idea would solve something easier, or i simply make a mistake. I make a lot of mistakes, pedantic as i may be.

The advantages of the OEM electrical system are that it is very basic, lightweight, and gets the job done. The disadvantages are that it has little if any intrinsic intelligence, is electrically inefficient, creates a lot of wasted heat, gets old, prompts kludges/work-arounds, does not protect itself from failures, and eventually fails requiring expensive replacement parts, time and effort.

This project's goal is to design an electrical system for the Vulcan750 that uses modern techniques to drive the original equipment. That means that instead of LED's being used for running lights in this design, the original specs for lamps, relays, coils, and battery charging will be preserved. Modern consumer components like LED's will serve to reduce the load, so this system will handle either/or.

There are a lot of specs that are unlisted/unknown about the Vulcan. This project will be relying upon measured data to provide many characteristics of the system. As time goes on, and technology improves, these characteristics are bound to change. LED's are only one example.

This project will be using a "top-down" method for design. What that means is that from the start of understanding we'll be using large generic concept blocks and as the system is developed further, a divide-and-conquer approach will be used to drill down into those blocks of ideas until the base components are reached.

Along the way, every block should have protection mechanisms in place to consider part failures into the design, and rules of thumb to be used in component selection. This is not "over-engineering". But once a system has been hashed out, design decisions may be necessary to remove parts of the "draft" design, simply because the system is too large, too cumbersome, too expensive, and etc. Once a design has been drafted, the engineering direction will turn around and the draft will be subjected to "bottom up" design.

This project will presume that the reader is already familiar with Ohm's Law, and other formula's that might present themselves along the way and which can be found on the internet in a common search. It will also presume that a basic understanding of various components used which can also be acquired by the reader with a little work on their own. It is highly advised that if the reader comes upon a term that they do not understand, that they do a little research on the internet to become acquainted.

Some old-school rules of thumb: All electronic components should be industry-rated by close to double their nominal values. The worst case scenario should be used when selecting these values. For example, if it has been determined that a resistor will see a maximum current of 1 amp during its life, and the resistors value is 10 ohms, then by 5% tolerance we know the part we will get from the store is actually 10.5 ohms, the current will actually be ( worst case ) 1.05 amps, and so the power dissipation of that resistor is I^2R = 1.05 * 1.05 * 10.5 = 11.57625 watts. That wattage is then rounded up and doubled by the rule of thumb to 23.2 watts which must be met or exceeded in component selection. This is only an example, and were that part ever actually required then somebody should suggest using a light-bulb to do the job.

At the topmost level the system can be divided into two major sections; the input power generation and the output power consumption. It is these two major sections that need to be looked at closely before either of them can be divided into their constituency.




Power Generation

This project will presume the original stator because of ease of replacement. The specs of this beast are no place to be found. Our design will be based on a very poor power spec from an ideal "old stator" with a bad rotor magnet, but must be capable of handling the output of a modern upgraded stator with a brand new refurbished rotor running at 12,000 rpm. This will ensure that anyone can use the design and that it will last longer than Kawi ever wanted to consider.

The stator presents us with 3 AC channels of approximately 60 volts differential RMS AC which run 120 degrees out of phase one with another. What that means is simply this: Each pole on the stator could be numbered as "1", "2", or "3" in series with the next third pole around the wheel. As the magnet rotates around wheel, it first excites pole "1", followed by 2, then 3, then again, 1, 2 and 3, 6 times before it is back where it started. As the electricity is generated in leg 1, it is likewise reduced in the other two legs. To measure the output of alternating current, an average of sorts is used since the value of voltage is always changing. This is the "RMS" value. RMS is the value one reads on a meter when they turn the setting to "AC".

For a range of voltage, then, we need to consider the stator output as high as 80 Volts measured between any two legs, and as low as half this amount, 40v. If alternator has become so old that it can no longer produce 40v between its legs then either the magnet is too weak for consideration or the stator has melted its insulation internally due to heat and its coils are shorting or shorted to ground.

For a range of current, we need to work backwards a little bit. Under a load it has been reported that the generator produces as little as 5 amps in each leg at 1000 rpm. The lower end of current needs to be dictated by our consumption, however, such that at our worst case stator output of 40v rms per leg will still deliver enough juice to run the bike, charge the battery, and light the lights. Fortunately for us, the stock generator was poorly designed. That's right! Because it is so inefficient, a huge amount of its energy is simply wasted into the heat sink of the R/R.

And so, before going any further into the energy production, we need to have a good idea of a full load. The manual rates the alternator at 24 amps, during 8000 rpm at 14 volts. That turns out to be 336 watts in an ideal world.

Regarding protection on each end of the generator, the only real means of protection of the stator in its hot oily environment is to use materials that can survive that environment. And so, the first protection mechanism above in the graphic will be ignored since our design should consider an old worn out stator as the "best that's available" without rewinding it.

Also, were the stator rewound in another fashion, it may actually be helpful to the circuit, but that is a discussion that again, will be ignored simply because our design seeks to be robust enough to allow what's available without a lot of work involved.

Power Consumption

Power consumption specs must be determined in advance of designing the generation scheme. And for this section it makes sense that a list of parts, their power requirements and a little math will do the trick. Power is measured in watts. While making this list, each consumer will be assigned a "sub-system" to which it belongs. This will be helpful later in the project to break this major design block into parts... top-down design / divide-and-conquer approach. Also, in this list, the worst case specs will be considered. In the real world, though, the bike only uses the maximum specs for a part "some of the time" ( headlamp excluded ).

The starter motor will be left out since it is used one time, drains the battery, is not supplied by the generator, and in effect, is considered as worst case battery charging as soon as the bike is started. The battery will be current limited to 5 amps even though a lower conservative requirement will probably be used. Battery charging draws less and less power as the battery becomes more and more charged.

The ignition system is a guess at this time; a guess and a wish. It is based on information found regarding modern racing ignition requirements. It presumes that all four spark plugs fire at the same time and is the worst case scenario for current flow and a long healthy spark.

Some lamps are over-rated. Relays are based on common automotive relays. Non-existing circuits are rated at 1/2 watt each.

Item - Sub-system - Requirement

Battery - Charging System - 5 amps, 15 volts, 75 watts
Ignition coils - Ignition System - 36 watts
Ignition circuit - Ignition System - 0.5 watts
Turn Signal circuit - Lamp System - 0.5 watts
Headlamp - Lamp System - 70 Watts
Headlamp Relay - Lamp System - 2 watts
Turn Lamps x 4 - Lamp System - 23w x 4 = 96 watts
Rear Brake Lamp - Lamp System - 27w x 2 = 54 watts
Rear License Tag Lamp - Lamp System - 8 watts
Speedometer Gauge Lamp x 2 - Lamp System - 3w x 2 = 6 watts
Tachometer Gauge Lamp x 2 - Lamp System - 32 x 2 = 6 watts
Gas Gauge Lamp - Lamp System - 3 watts
Idiot Lamps x 6 - Lamp System - 3.4 x 6 = ~20.5 watts
Cooling Fan - Fan System - 60 watts ( guess )
Fan Relay - 2 watts - Fan System
Sensor Circuit - Sensor System - 0.5 watts
Horn - 15 watts ( guess )

Total Peak 456 watts

So, if the battery was being charged at 5 amps, every single light was on full blast including the idiot lights, the fan was on, the horn blaring, and the engine using a full 36 watts to run... the generator would be lacking about 120 watts. Be that as it may be, we want a power supply that can handle 456 watts and design accordingly, even if we know the alternator can only deliver 336 watts. For most of the supply, 456 watts / 12 volts =
38 amps worst case. That's 12.6 amps per stator leg. Based on industry standards ( also rules of thumb ) a single 12 awg wire could handle that load ( rated 41 amps ), and 18 awg wire could handle any single stator leg by itself ( rated 16 amps). 14 awg handles 32 amps.

Protection

The OEM system has no protection at all between the generator and the consumption. There are fuses in various places to stop short circuits from affecting the system, however, between the generator and the battery and the regulator, by observation only, we know there is no protection at all. In fact, based on what is known about the stock R/R, whenever the generator is over-producing, the excess energy is shunted into the heat sink using an "SCR" ( Silicon Controlled Rectifier - or Thyristor ). The fuses in the OEM system are mainly to protect the battery from being discharged.

There is an advantage to the OEM system though... a magneto generator has braking properties. When there is absolutely no load on the alternator, no current will flow from the leads. That puts a magnetic brake on the engine itself. In other words, the more energy is transferred into the power system, the easier it is to turn the crankshaft.

But during an open circuit ( no load ) condition, when the stator leads are all disconnected, the full energy produced by that magnet is "eaten" as heat by the stator itself. This is one condition that needs to be protected. The other protection between the two main blocks of the system is short circuit protection. If an SCR shorts out for any reason, or if two of the stator wires fuse together for any reason, we have a dead short circuit, and the current flow itself will heat up the stator. Both open and short conditions need to be considered between the stages.

The final protection shown in the diagram is inside the consumption block and will need to be addressed as the consumption block is developed. Lamps need fuses, and circuits need "electronic fuses". In electronics, circuits need to be protected from both over-voltage ( voltage regulation ) and over-current ( current limiting ) situations.

Conclusion

This concludes the introduction to this project and an overview of the first design layer. Feel free to comment, correct, discuss, or get drunk and make giddy comments for the grins.

If you've read this far and think electronics is too complicated to learn... here is a little information: transistors are just rocks, resistors are simply bad connections, and capacitors are tiny little cans of oil-fouled plugs.
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1987 VN750 California - "Lydia"
Reupholstered leather seat w/matching lockbox.
Rebuilt battery cage
Relocated R/R
AGM battery
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 05:18 PM
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Interesting read

Unfortunately my knowledge of all things auto-electrical amounts to very little

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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 05:44 PM
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Interesting read

x2 but I also have the question that if all that which was listed by the OP falls so short of what is really good then why not buy a bike that has a great electrical system and darn good mechanical system to start with and do much fewer reworks. I am all in favor of learning more about the bike but can't understand why it is necessary to start chopping up a bike that stood up to so many years of production with very few changes during that production run and continued to sell well enough to keep Ma Kaw producing the whole thing. There are other ways to learn besides disection. Heck even our high school science classes have learned that lesson finally. The VN 750 was and still is a great bike for what it is. Trying to make it into something that it isn't does not seem to be a problem with the actual machine but rather a non electrical, mechanical problem located outside the bike. I do agree that anyone has the right to do what they want with their own machine and should do so by all means but I also admit that I do not have to understand their thought process. So let's see what you are going to do to it and I truly wish you all the success you are looking for. I mean that in the most sincere way possible
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and always remember, "Ride until you rot!"
**Really not sure if the Big "C" is back right now
but having to face the fact that this is a lifetime routine
going forward. Five operations done and it still continues.

Tom
Vulcan 2000
New ride: 2009 Victory Vision Arlen Ness Signature Series
4507 miles
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 08:33 PM
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This is awesome, keep it up! I've got to sell my vulcan for the time being, but I'm planning on doing a rebuild-project bike (buy one with a bust stator or the like), and I'm planning on changing up the electronics on it to support different lights/running lights and things like a phone charger/gps so I'm very interest in seeing what you find out!

'04 Vulcan 750 27k+
My first ride- June 2013 @ 22k miles
Stator replaced 27k

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 09:50 PM
..have a vulcan good day!
 
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Originally Posted by Vulcan2000 View Post
x2 but I also have the question that if all that which was listed by the OP falls so short of what is really good then why not buy a bike that has a great electrical system and darn good mechanical system to start with and do much fewer reworks. I am all in favor of learning more about the bike but can't understand why it is necessary to start chopping up a bike that stood up to so many years of production with very few changes during that production run and continued to sell well enough to keep
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Originally Posted by Vulcan2000 View Post
Ma Kaw producing the whole thing. There are other ways to learn besides disection. Heck even our high school science classes have learned that lesson finally. The VN 750 was and still is a great bike for what it is.[/U] Trying to make it into something that it isn't does not seem to be a problem with the actual machine but rather a non electrical, mechanical problem located outside the bike[/U]. I do agree that anyone has the right to do what they want with their own machine and should do so by all means but I also admit that I do not have to understand their thought process. So let's see what you are going to do to it and I truly wish you all the success you are looking for. I mean that in the most sincere way possible
20 year production....speaks for itself.

Same here !

'86 VN750 13,700 mi -Stock
-Purchased 2008 w/8800mi
Replaced ALL Cables . Kuryakyn LED Voltmeter
SilverStar Ultra 9003/HB2 H4 Headlamp, Jardine Fwd Controls,
Iridiums DPR7EIX-9 & Wires, Tuxedo Mod, Coil Mod, P/U Sensor Mod, Fork Seals,
Splines Lubed - 11/4/2012 - MF AGM Battery
Additional Flashing LED Brake Light on Trunk
Dampers went out @ 13+K !
After TOC MCCT's..... so amazingly quiet I discovered a rattling heat shield on my stock exhaust !
...have a vulcan good day!

Last edited by WilliamTech; 04-23-2016 at 09:56 PM.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 09:58 PM
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http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=28964

Somewhere in this thread is a simplified vn750 wiring diagram. If I remember correctly I think Slimvulcanrider designed it.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 12:38 AM
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I've tried searching here as well but am getting no pics.hey slim,help a brother out

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I am a BIKER and i'm proud.FREEBIRDS MC CENTRAL NY

lowered with progessive 412 10" shocks
rejetted for K/N Pods part#rc 2340
sportster seat

'I didn't lose my mind.i gave it away

BRING BACK WOLFIE."Peace and Carrots"RIP
"And I'm free...as a bird"John Lennon Free as a Bird
"I only carry when I have my pants on"Joe Robinson RIP aka Old Dog
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 06:52 PM
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I read through this whole thread, found it interesting, if somewhat incomprehensible at times, but have forgotten most of it already.

Will be interested to see what results from trying to redesign/simplify the whole electrical system.

I am a pretty good parts changer, but electrical gremlins are my least favorite problems to diagnose and fix.

Gordon

1991 VN 750 -"Cosmic Lady" or "Bad Girl"?
Purchased May 16, 2008
Approx.19,300km (12,000 miles)

H-D windshield
Relocated R/R
MF-AGM battery
Fiamm Freeway Blaster horns
F&S luggage rack and engine guard
Kury Offset Hiway pegs
July 13, 2016, Riding on the DARKSIDE now, Classic Radial 165/80-15


TOP TEN THINGS A NEW RIDER/OWNER SHOULD DO. Click on link.
https://www.vn750.com/forum/11-vn750-general-discussion/9127-top-ten-items-you-would-suggest-new-owner-do-his-new-ride.html
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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x2 but I also have the question that if all that which was listed by the OP falls so short of what is really good then why not buy a bike that has a great electrical system and darn good mechanical system to start with and do much fewer reworks.
Are you offering me a loan?

The primary reason is because i have an abundance of resources at my disposal, but cash is not one of them, and will likely never be.

On a sidenote in the same vein... The engineers at Kawi had a different goal in mind. IMHO they succeeded. They were building brand new bikes, on teams, using the technology of that day.

So while it is very true that the design lasted some 30 years...

It is also true that eventually they moved on with technology, themselves. Otherwise, they would still be building the original design and it would still be putting money in their pockets.

So, in a nutshell then, i have no money, but i have a bike and my particular bike is 30 years old. It has the advantage of knowing what could and did go wrong after thirty years. The original engineers could only guess by experience about such things.

We have two different situations. I only have about 20 years left in my life to ride her if/when i can get her to last another 20 years in the first place.

So, with all of that in mind, it just makes sense to me, that if it is possible to do, then failing to record the methodology would be helpful to nobody else except myself. In the case that what i propose to do turns out impossible for me as well, at least other people can pick it all up from where it left off if they like, right? So which will it be then? Shouldn't i at least try, and document my findings along the way? I think so.

I appreciate the input here from you specifically as well as the others above in this thread. It helps give me an idea of what step is next best suited for the readers.

Thanks again


1987 VN750 California - "Lydia"
Reupholstered leather seat w/matching lockbox.
Rebuilt battery cage
Relocated R/R
AGM battery
Murican MCCT
Redesigned Rear - LED Tag/Signals/Harness
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 10:16 PM
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Are you offering me a loan? .....
You ask if I am offering you a loan. I really hate to answer that with another question but, "Are you willing to accept my terms as far as repayment?" Most everything in life has some price attached to it. I still have my original question as I believe there are a large number of bikes available that have electrical systems either better than our bikes or at least systems that would not need as many modifications to meet your criteria as listed in your opening post here and at a much lower cost both financially and time spent. Again I do accept that you have the right to do what ever you want to do with your bike no matter what anyone else thinks including myself. The only advice I pass on is that you take on this project for your own satisfaction and not because the readers want it. Do it for yourself and if others gain from it then it is one step better. Good luck.

and always remember, "Ride until you rot!"
**Really not sure if the Big "C" is back right now
but having to face the fact that this is a lifetime routine
going forward. Five operations done and it still continues.

Tom
Vulcan 2000
New ride: 2009 Victory Vision Arlen Ness Signature Series
4507 miles

Last edited by Vulcan2000; 04-25-2016 at 10:19 PM.
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