Question about 1981 Honda GL 1100 Innerstate Gold Wing

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Jump start bike, at full throttle volt meter reads 12 at idle not charging

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  • manndebbie May 13, 2009

    i charged the battery road bike today, at start up read 14, 20 min

    into the ride drop down to 11 could it be the voltage regulater



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The lower the voltage the higher the amperage. At twlve volts the charging sytem should be pooring the coals to the battery. Bttery sounds more like the culprit. If battery charges up corectly, the voltage will slowly rise to 14,.2 after startup. Have battery charged and load testest out of vehicle (bike) As battery goes bad the charging system works harder and speeds up battery quietus( death)

Posted on May 10, 2009

  • Ned C Cook
    Ned C Cook May 13, 2009

    Yes, it could be the voltage regulator. if you have an amp meter, connect it between the negative cable and the negative bat post to check amperage output of alternator. Do not run bike but for a few seconds with cable disconnected. you may also want to chk the battery specific gravity with a hydrometer.. One of those pencil hydromrters will work fine . good luck. you can also chk to see if there is adrain on the battery with the meter by putting it between the posirive post and cable clamp. VR are usually internal on alyteators and external on generators. What happens when you turn on the lights with it running? If the alternator is taking the load you hear the motor pull dow slightly. ,meaning battery is not helping. If engine holds steady than the battery is good.d the alternator is compensating for what is taken from the battery.I am inclined to say it's the battery but would still confirm with load and specific gravity reading. drain. If you use your kill switc to shut down engine, make sure you return it to the run position once the enginr stops and you've taken the keys out. We'll get it.good luck



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Your'e lucky to have a kick start wish I had one. I gather you have both electric and kick on your bike. If the bike starts and runs OK using the kick start, I would suggest either your battery is failing to hold charge and/or not being charged while the engine is running.

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3. Make sure all connections are clean and tight especially the negative cable at both ends.
4. Hook up volt meter to battery and start engine, if meter falls below 9.5 v replace battery.
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6. Unplug voltage regulator from alternator at crankcase by front of primary cover.
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Need diagram to diag not charging. thanks

To check your charging system, you'll need a DVOM (digital volt ohm meter). The first thing to do it to take your battery out of the bike and take it to an automotive parts house. Ask them to load test the battery for you. This will ensure that the problem is not the battery.

Now, put the fully charged battery back into the bike. Connect the red meter lead to the positive post and the black meter lead to the negative post of the battery. Put the meter's function switch in "DC VOLTS, 20 VOLT range. Start the bike and bring the engine to a high idle. The meter should read between 14.5 and 15.0 volts.

If it doesn't read this voltage, find the wires coming from the alternator on the lower left front of the engine. Follow the wires back to the round plug and unplug it. Look into the engine side of the plug and you'll see two metal contacts. Make sure these are clean. Put your meter function switch in AC VOLTS, 50 Volt range and start the bike. Bring the engine to a high idle. Put either of the meter probes on one metal contact and the other probe on the other contact. The meter should read 25 volts or higher.

If the battery test reads low but the alternator test reads correct, the regulator is probably defective. If the alternator reads zero voltage or low, the alternator stator is bad.

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Charging or electrical

First, charge your battery to full charge. then, using a digital volt ohm meter connect the red meter lead to the positive post and the black meter lead to the negative post, put the meter in the DC voltage, 20 volt or greater range. Start the engine and bring it to a high idle. You should read 14.5- 14.8 volts. If not, your charging system is not working.

Next we check you alternator. At the front of the engine case, find the connector where the voltage regulator connects to the alternator and unplug the connector. Look down into the connector on the case and you should see to metal connectors. When we get ready, we're going to insert one meter lead into each metal connector. It makes no difference which lead goes to which connector. Put your meter in AC voltage, 50 volts or greater range. Very important, make sure the meter is in AC voltage range. Now, start the bike and bring it to high idle. Insert the meter leads, one into each connector. Make sure you do not touch the engine cases. You should read 30 volts or greater. If so, you alternator stator is fine but your regulator is probably bad. If not, your alternator stator is probably bad. Once you determine where your problem is, repost and we'll tell you how to repair it you wish to do the job yourself.

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1 Answer

Battery keeps dying

You need to do a complete charging system test. First, put a battery charger on your battery and bring it up to full charge. The accuracy of the test depends on it being fully charged. You will also need a DVOM (digital Volt Ohm meter) and know how to use it.

With the battery fully charged, connect your DVOM to the battery in correct polarity. Red lead to positive, Black lead to negative. Put the meter in Voltage, DC, 50 volts or higher range. You should be reading about 12.5 volts if you've got everything connected correctly. Now, start the bike and watch the meter. Bring the bike to a high idle, like with the enricher on. The meter should slowly rise to about 14.5-14.7 volts. If it does, then the charging system is functioning correctly.

If it does not, follow the wires from your voltage regulator to where it plugs into the wires from the engine case. In the plug coming from the engine case, put one of the leads from the DVOM into one socket of the plug and the other lead in the other socket. It makes no difference which lead goes where as the output of the alternator is alternating current. Now, put the DVOM in Voltage, AC, 50 volts or higher range. Make sure you put the meter in AC voltage or you will not get a reading. Again, start the bike and bring to a high idle. You should read 30 volts or higher at high idle. If you do, then the alternator is operating as it should.

Now, since the equipment to test the regulator is quite complicated, most mechanics use this method to test the battery and the alternator. If these two components check out good, they simply replace the voltage regulator. I fixes the problem 90% of the time. Good luck

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1 Answer

Recently having problems with my 2000 Fatty not holding charge. What should stator be putting out on voltage meter? Voltage meter climbs as rpms go up, I would presume that this indicates stator ok? Bike...

First, take your battery somewhere and have it load tested. Fat Boys are tough on batteries as the battery sits in the "horseshoe" oil tank and is subjected to high temperatures due to the hot oil in the tank. Battery life is typically two years although I've seen some go longer and some not last that long. Have the battery tested before you start spending money.

To check the stator, you unplug the regulator at the engine case. Down inside the plug you'll see some electrical connectors. Connect a DVOM (digital volt ohm meter) to these connectors (one lead to eac pin) and put the meter in the 50 volt or higher range AC voltage. This is important that your meter be set to measure AC voltage because at this point, the voltage is indeed an Alternating Current voltage coming out of your alternator. Start the engine and bring it to a high idle. You should be reading over 20 volts AC. The book says that you should read 12-18 volts per 1000 engine RPM. If your engine is turning 2000 rpm, your meter should read 24-36 volts AC.

To test the regulator, first charge your battery to a full charge. Then connect your DVOM across the battery, red to positive, black to negative. Put the meter in the 20 volt DC range. Start the bike and bring it to a high idle. The voltage will start at somewhere around 12.5 volts and climb to about 14.5-15 volts. This would indicate that the regulator MAY be alright.

Now, have you changed any of the lights on your Fat Boy? I've seen people change and add lights to the point where their alternator could no longer put out the current necessary to handle the load. If this is the case, you may need a higher out charging system.

I don't know where you're located but $260 seems quite high for a voltage regulator.

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