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Ratbiker
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53 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've replaced my alternator once and don't want to do it again. If I put air horns on the bike am I risking frying anything on the stock electrical system?
 

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CWO3 Navy (Retired)
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722 Posts
I put a Stebel Air Horn on mine and as long as you use the Relay that comes with it there is no difference in the power draw than the original horns. And the air horn will absolutely let someone know you are there. It was an easy install.
 

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The Professor
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3,147 Posts
I've replaced my alternator once and don't want to do it again. If I put air horns on the bike am I risking frying anything on the stock electrical system?
Adding a few accessories on our bikes is actualy better for the charging system then adding nothing. The excess power is being used instead of being bled off by the R/R, which adds more heat to the R/R and shortens it's life span.

Unlike an alternator a stator constantly produces electricity and what ever is not used is has to go somewhere.
 

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Love My Baby
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1,165 Posts
Adding a few accessories on our bikes is actualy better for the charging system then adding nothing. The excess power is being used instead of being bled off by the R/R, which adds more heat to the R/R and shortens it'slife span.
Lance, this poses an interesting question for me. I've changed out my tail/brake light to LED to reduce the electrical load on my bike. Plan to do the same with the front running lights/blinkers. Am I actually causing my R/R more potential damage rather than helping my electrical system out?
 

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Super Moderator
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11,815 Posts
Lance, this poses an interesting question for me. I've changed out my tail/brake light to LED to reduce the electrical load on my bike. Plan to do the same with the front running lights/blinkers. Am I actually causing my R/R more potential damage rather than helping my electrical system out?

Kinda. Most folks add LED's to save power so they can runs something else...like driving lights or heated gear. But I would not go as far to say that you are "causing your R/R more potential damage". If you have relocated your R/R you have already taken a step to eliminate "potential damage"...

Perhaps you should use that extra power for something cool eh?


KM
 

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Vulcan Traitor ;)
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80 Posts
I swapped out all my bulbs with LEDs too and tossed in an 80/100w headlight bulb. I still have the ole wet cell battery; haven't checked water levels in it since last fall (?) and my VM still shows anywhere from 13-14 in ridiing conditions. The only time I see it dip below 12.5 is at idle and when the cooling fan comes on. Once this battery goes tango uniform I'll toss in the AGM that I got last fall.
 

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The Professor
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3,147 Posts
Lance, this poses an interesting question for me. I've changed out my tail/brake light to LED to reduce the electrical load on my bike. Plan to do the same with the front running lights/blinkers. Am I actually causing my R/R more potential damage rather than helping my electrical system out?
As KM said, If you have relocted your R/R it will incerase the life span. The less power the system needs the more the R/R has to bleed off to ground and the hotter it will get.
 

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Newb with a Bullet!
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589 Posts
This has been an interesting thread. I thought I needed to go LED so more power would go to charging the battery. That's my concern. If I'm just damaging my R/R by reducing the load then what's the point? Might as well stick w/ conventional lighting.
 

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Premium Member
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4,054 Posts
I swapped out all my bulbs with LEDs too and tossed in an 80/100w headlight bulb. I still have the ole wet cell battery; haven't checked water levels in it since last fall (?) and my VM still shows anywhere from 13-14 in ridiing conditions. The only time I see it dip below 12.5 is at idle and when the cooling fan comes on. Once this battery goes tango uniform I'll toss in the AGM that I got last fall.
Just FYI, you don't want to go more than a couple weeks especially in this time of year without checking your water level in the battery! If the battery fails, it can take the rest of your army with it sometimes. You especially need an AGM battery!
 

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Ratbiker
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53 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Good responses. I'll definitely add an air horn if it's helping my bike out. :D
 

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Super Moderator
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11,815 Posts
It has been estimated that the Vulcan ,in peak form and at top output, has about 70w of power to spare. Keep in mind that that "top output" means running a constant 4500-5500 rpms like cruising down a highway. When stuck in stop and go traffic that figure is likely not constant.

Anyway that means in stock form the bike should have enough power to spare to operate efficaintly without needing to reduce load by using energy efficiant substitutes like LED's.. If you add anything that puts a drain on the electrical output, you need to moniter your volts with a voltmeter, and be sure the added accessory does not overtax the system. If you stay way under that 70 watts , you likely do not need to be concerned. If you start to get close, lets say anything over 45 watts, switching out your signal and brake lights for LED's would be a good idea.

Also keep in mind that bad or loose connections can sap power from the system and go undetected. (hence the comment "peak form")

There is of course no reason to get paranoid about all this, as the R/R is designed to "get hot" and there is no real proof anywhere that shows you will suffer R/R failure or , worse yet, stator failure .... becuase you installed some LED's.

I ran a set of 20w halogen driving lights (for 40 watts total) , installed a phone charger, along with a voltmeter and a dash light. My bike was completely stock, R/R in the stock position, no LED turn or brake lights, and never had any issues or problems at all.....execpt for one 100+ degree day stuck in traffic I noticed my charging volts go down some. (I turned off my driving lights and exited to sidestreet and once the bike got moving again the volts came back.)

So again...YOU ARE NOT DAMAGING YOUR R/R BY INSTALLING LED REPLACEMENT LIGHTS. One could argue it might be "harder" on the unit , but again, no freaking proof you are killing it.


Think how many stator failures have been reported here, and how rare one actualy reads about just the R/R going bad.

Your stator is far more likely to fizzle because of bad connections or age, and NOT because the R/R took it out.







KM
 

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The Professor
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3,147 Posts
I just want clarify!!! In my posts I never said you are "killing " the R/R by adding LED's or anything else. I said the more electricity the R/R has to bleed off the hotter it will get and the shorter life span it will have. The R/R is designed to take a certain amount of heat for a certain amount of time. As with anything electrical, the cooler it runs the longer it will last.
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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7,960 Posts
Good responses. I'll definitely add an air horn if it's helping my bike out. :D
Just how much are you planning on holding your thumb on that horn button anyway? If it is enough to cool the r/r at all, somebody will run you over, just to shut it up!!:( Do like KM did, and use up those extra watts by puting some running lights on to give the bike some visual width to approaching drivers.:smiley_th

By all means put on the air horn. I`m thinking of mounting a stebel myself, but it needs a deeper tone horn to accompany it, IMHO. Something like my old Buick`s "freight train horn". I think with a relay switch in the circuit, and 14 gauge wire direct to the stebel and the auto horn, it will definately get attention when needed.:wow:
 

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Newb with a Bullet!
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589 Posts
I want to try putting the HF "Oohga" horn on mine. Just for kicks. What can be worse than the stock horn, right!?
 

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Premium Member
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4,054 Posts
Something like my old Buick`s "freight train horn".
I always loved those old Buick Electra horns! Sounded classy with what? 3 horns? Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming....

Man, now I'm wanting to go to a junk yard and try to class up the horn sound on my 1500! Wonder if I can find a set? :)
 

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Registered
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109 Posts
I put a set of Stebel Dual TM80 Magnum Horns on mine where the old horns were attached. Has about the same decibel level as the air horn. People do hear me.
 
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