How to fix common regulator/Stator failures

Discussion in '5th Generation 1998-2001' started by Rubo, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. FJ12rydertoo

    FJ12rydertoo Member

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    Some of these bikes may have an immobilizer that has a constant draw on the battery. Not sure if that's the issue here,
    but they are pretty common aftermarket gadgets installed.

    It seems odd that you're seeing 14.7 V over the whole RPM range. It should be lower at lower RPM, and ramp up to max
    around 5,000 RPM, I believe that's the high point.
     
  2. skimad4x4

    skimad4x4 "Official" VFRWorld Greeter

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    CDA - I recall your intro post suggested that the bike came with electrical issues - flat battery, broken heated grips and a replaced RR and stator, and you indicated that you had replaced both the heated grips and the battery.

    On the face of it there is no reason to expect a new battery would drain in a few days, and that rather suggests you have some sort of continuous electrical drain which needs to be located - Basically I would do that by pulling fuses whilst monitoring the voltage. When you see the volts rise you know the last fuse is the circuit which was draining the bike. If that does not identify the culprit see if the volts rise after you disconnect any extra connections from the battery terminals.

    Obviously it is a good idea to start the process with a healthy fully charged battery. So I suggest you remove the battery and recharge it overnight using a proper motorbike charger - unfortunately the charge rate on many car battery chargers can be way too high and overcharging is a good way to damage to a motorcycle battery. Ideally use a modern digital motorbike charging unit which has an LED display allowing you to monitor the charging process which will give you a clear evaluation of the state of the battery, and reduce and eventually stop the charging when the battery is full. Next morning take a note of the battery volts across the terminals before installing it in the bike then see if the volts drop once the battery terminals are connected to the bike loom.

    To be honest I am slightly worried by your mention that you replaced the heated grips and also fitted some sort of aftermarket voltmeter from "AliExpress" which sounds very much like a typical Chinese product. Given the high RR output figures you report it suggests you have a non standard RR or the voltmeter is not very accurate - so it might be worth double checking the battery volts using a multi-meter which are usually a lot more accurate.

    Sadly the design of many Chinese sourced aftermarket motorcycle equipment is fatally flawed as they tend to come pre-wired with hoop connectors which people wrongly assume it is sensible to just wire them direct to the battery terminals - rather than do it properly and ensure they are only connected indirectly via an "ignition on" relay. I guess if a voltmeter is permanently live it probably won't draw much power to run an LED display, however heated grips can draw a lot of power and it is way too easy (especially in winter) to accidentally leave them turned on, and potentially flatten the battery if any automatic power down facility misbehaves. Personally I have never been a fan of direct wired accessories which rely on some sort of "automatic power down" feature as I have encountered a few motorbikes where these "automatic" systems fail miserably and yours may be just the latest.

    Hope that helps - let us know how you get on.


    SkiMad
     
  3. CDA441

    CDA441 New Member

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    Oh yeah that's right, but it fluctuates a little around the 14.7. At lower ranges I sometimes see 14.3 and 14.5 to peaks at 14.9 for a split second then dropping again.
    No immobilizer, I threw that sh*tbox out.


    Hey SkiMad, thanks for the writeup. The parasitic drain is 1.81mA, I checked it again, and there is no fluctuation at all with the previous measurements.
    However, the R/R is "standard" or maybe the upgraded version of it, honestly IDK, but from what I read on other forums, the stator has to deliver a voltage of 70-90V AC between 3000 and 4000rpm, where mine just gives 50V AC.

    When I turn my heated grips on at 100%, the charging voltage will drop to a stable 14.4-14.6V DC, depending on the revs.
    My charger has a special mode for motorcycle batteries (and also a trickle charger mode). It charges at a lower amp than the car and also at a lower voltage.

    My heated grips are from Oxford (the reputable brand) and every accessory (heated grips, voltmeter, usb charger) is wired to a relay that is connected to the rear light.
    If the bike's off, all accessories are off (except for the HISS light, the clock and the ECU)
    I'm not a total noob on that modding stuff, on my XF650 I had DRL's, spots, heated grips, and a 12V socket, all on a relay.

    Could be a faulty battery, but I don't want to get stranded again ;)
     
  4. FJ12rydertoo

    FJ12rydertoo Member

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    Are you measuring 14.7 V right at the battery terminals? Are you running a Lithium battery?
     
  5. CDA441

    CDA441 New Member

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    @FJ12rydertoo no, normal AGM battery. YTZ12S from Nitro (11Ah, 210CCA)
    I just came back from a test ride to check if everything is in order, and I found out my riding charging voltage without heated grips is a steady 14.7 (idle something 14.4).
    If I turn the heated grips on, the charging voltage goes up to 14.9V with dips to 14.3V, so that's kinda weird.
     
  6. Cycleman1

    Cycleman1 New Member

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    You've not say if you are running a stock wet battery, or an AGM battery and I can't recall you saying anything about its age. The numbers you are posting are too high for a stock system. Load test the battery and if it passes, then start pulling some fuses on your excessories to figure out where the drain is coming from.

    The Oxford grips are supposed to go to rest, some kind of auto feature, so maybe that is your issue.

    You don't say where you live, but if you live in a climate where the bike sits unused for lengthy periods of time, the only way you will ever get a battery to last is by using a battery tender during the down times.
     
  7. Cycleman1

    Cycleman1 New Member

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    I forgot to add, but the high numbers you are showing indicates to me that the R/R is continually trying to charge up the battery. I like to think of the electrical system on any of these bikes, that have a low wattage capability, as marginal at best. The system is really only designed to maintain a good fully charged battery and works very similar to a battery tender. It won't charge up a poor battery or even a new uncharge battery for that matter.

    As you go down the highway the R/R is continually sending voltage to the battery and the norms for a good battery are usually just under 14 volts. When it reaches that point, it directs the excess on a stock R/R to ground. When you come to a stop, shut the bike off and wait a few minutes and you likely find that the resting voltage is over 13 Volts. You can turn the ignition on, puts headlight on and let it sit for a minute to drain off the excess at the battery, then shut off the ignition and wait about 5 minutes, and your voltage should stabilize around 12.7-12.8 or so for a good health battery.
     
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  8. CDA441

    CDA441 New Member

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    @Cycleman1 I did what you asked me and measured the voltage using a multimeter (bike running) at the terminals: it spits out a 14.64-14.66 at idle.
    The voltmeter from AliExpress tells me 14.9V. I suppose I shouldn't rely on the china made voltmeter :Rofl:
    My resting voltage, just after I turn off the bike is 13.11V, then after I turn the bike on again (lights, etc...) it drops to 12.5 and climbs back to 12.7V.
     
  9. Cycleman1

    Cycleman1 New Member

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    Sounds not too bad, but the 12.5 is an indication that all is not well. Now that you have a base line measurement, let the bike sit for 24 hrs and I would disconnect the battery for this test, so there is no drain off it. You want to see what the resting voltage is after the battery sits for 24 hrs. It should stay in the 12.7+ range.

    If you have the time and are not using the bike, let the battery sit for a couple of more days and see if there is any change. Check it every day to see if the resting voltage is dropping. You could have a bad cell that is causing your issues. If the resting voltage continues to drop, then replace the battery. With the new battery, I would suggest a good AGM, doesn't have to be the most expensive or the cheapest, something in the middle price range works fine. Put it on the battery tender for 24 hrs before you put it into service. If you don't do this with a new battery it will never reach its max voltage. If you don't have a low voltage battery tender then you can use a regular battery charger, but be very careful of the charging rate, as you can easily destroy the new battery with too high of a charge.

    One thing to keep in mind that a fuel injected ( FI ) bike needs higher voltage at the start, as the computer checks the voltage and if it is low, it will not allow the fuel pump to work.

    Your cheap volt meter seems to be working fine, so I wouldn't worry about that. Just about any battery depot or for that matter a motorcycle shop should do a load test for you on your old battery. Just pick the place you plan on buying the new one from, should it be bad. I tend to just buy my batteries from a battery shop as there stock is newer, often cheaper than a bike dealer, and that is their only business.

    Motorcycle batteries in a lot of case, unless they are very well maintained, only last about 3 yrs for an AGM. When they get anywhere near a 12.5 resting voltage I replace them. Bad batteries cause the majority of issues with a bikes electrical system. If the bike sits a lot, use a good battery tender. It will easily pay for itself.
     
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  10. CDA441

    CDA441 New Member

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    Allright, just pulled out the battery and I'll let it sit for a couple of days.
    I measured it just now and it shows 12.84V; I'll check it over the course of those days and I already have a new battery on the charger to save some time.
    If one fails I still can use the other to jump the bike back to life.

    PS: the bike shop told me I can bring in the battery and they'll send it back to the manufacturer if there's something wrong, then they'll reimburse me if there IS something wrong, or just give me back my battery.
     
  11. Cycleman1

    Cycleman1 New Member

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    12.84 sounds pretty good, can the bike shop load test the old battery. That will tell you if it is any good.

    Electrical issues are always a process of elimination, start with the easy and progress through the harder stuff.
     
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  12. FJ12rydertoo

    FJ12rydertoo Member

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    I think 14.7 V is a bit high, even with an AGM battery, but not by much. Most of the info I found about AGM
    batteries recommend absorption rate around 14.5, and you're not far off that at all. It will be interesting to see
    how much voltage drop you get after a couple days.
     
  13. CDA441

    CDA441 New Member

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    Question is: What if there is no significant voltage drop? Then I have to check every fuse? Can't be right tho, because the amp draw when the bike is off is practically stock with +0.61mA difference. (measured between ground and ground terminal from battery when bike is off)

    I'm curious too.
     
  14. FJ12rydertoo

    FJ12rydertoo Member

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    Well, if the battery stays up out of the bike, then you have enough draw to pull the battery down while it's
    in the bike. I'll have admit that draw doesn't sound enough to be a problem, but there's something somewhere.
     
  15. CDA441

    CDA441 New Member

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    Ok, so we are a few hours in (not even 24h, but it's getting there) and the battery reads 12.82V

    It's the next day and the battery still reads 12.82V
    The charging voltage (ali meter) says I now charge at 15V?
    The battery in the bike itself does not get over 12°C.
    It looks like it's overcharging, but it also looks like the old battery that went under 10V (normally toast) still holds a charge well enough??
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  16. CDA441

    CDA441 New Member

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    Ps: is this the new-style connector for the VFR800 VTEC?

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    They seem fine to me, little bit dirty.
    For good measure I also put a second ground to the chassis from the negative battery terminal.
    Also will check the blue connector too.
     
  17. Cycleman1

    Cycleman1 New Member

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    Looks like the standard 3 yellow wire plug, from the angle you show. The electrical gremlins with some of these bikes is kind of weird.

    Honda messed around with the early VFR800F non VTEC's and to confuse the issue more, the 98 & 99 VFR used a different stator that the 00/01 VFR. The updated stock R/R for those years of gear driven cams was SH689DA. For whatever reason the 98/99 had less stator problems than the 00/01 bikes and you can still get the stock stator for the 98/99 years but not the 00/01. If you check they had different part numbers, but I have no idea what the actual differences are.

    Just for the hell of it I checked the Service Manual for the 98-01 VFR. Guess what it says. Current Leakage - 1.2 ma max, R/R regulated voltage 14-14.8 V @ 5000 rpm. Sound familiar. In reading through the Service Manual it shows to test the R/R with the hi beam on and the engine @ 5000 rpm. I know mine is closer to 14 and never goes over that.

    So maybe we have been chasing ghosts. 14.8 seems pretty high to me and your 15 is right up there. Somebody smarter than me will have to figure it out.

    One thing you could do is check for any voltage drop over the postive cable to the solenoid or starter. You do this by measuring the voltage at the battery, right it down, then measure at the positive cable at the solenoid. They both should show the exact same voltage. Do it both ways, trying to start and with key off. If you have any difference, no matter how small, then you have internal corrosion in that cable. I have had this happen to me once on a first generation gold wing, which has a very similar electrical system to the VFR when it comes to how they use the solenoid.

    Just how much of an effect the bad cable had was that when it came under load, it would have just enough resitance to drop the battery voltage down so that the solenoid would click, but it wouldn't start the battery. I went and got a new battery, thinking that it was the problem, but when I put it in the bike it had the same symptom and the bike wouldn't start. I replaced the short positive cable between the battery and the solenoid, and viola no more problems and the bike started fine.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that you may have that type of bad cable issue, that is really hard to diagnose. There maybe better methods than I have outlined but I know what I've described fixed my problem.
     
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  18. CDA441

    CDA441 New Member

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    I think I'm a little late with this answer:
    The Ali meter is wayyyy off from reality.
    When my multimeter shows 12.02 (on the battery terminals), my Ali meter measures 12.2!
    When my multimeter shows 14.7, my ali meter shows 15! Seems like a 0.2V fault in the calibration.
    Maybe we were chasing ghosts.
     
  19. Cycleman1

    Cycleman1 New Member

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    Might be ghosts, but that doesn't explain it going dead after a short layup of 9 days. Go back to what you last did before you started having trouble. It other words what did you change to cause the not starting. I can only assume that it hasn't always been this way.

    After market wiring can always be an issue that needs to be checked out.
     
  20. CDA441

    CDA441 New Member

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    Well to start:
    - The immobilizer got thrown out, it's just sips power and only splits a wire to the starter and to the turn signals (for activating/deactivating).
    - The original aftermarket heated grips weren't connected at all, that is not a problem
    - The original Yuasa battery was dead. Could not be revived after 3 days on the charger
    - My new battery went in, and sat for a week (started no problem)
    - I got new heated grips (Oxford) and connected these to a relay (accessory wire)
    No problems starting then and there (could start more than 6 times in a row in short bursts as one chap told me to check)
    Then:
    - Used heated grips at MAX/100% for my 30min commute, worked for 2 weeks(?)
    - Bike sat for a week in the garage again: Low charge (10.5V) - Charged it up and went on with my commute (no heated grips this time)
    - Battery voltage at destination: 13.5V, ambient temp: 5°C
    - Ready to go home (3 hours later): Battery 10.5V, needed a push start
    - Went home and charged it for a day, then off the charger and went on holiday (was Christmas).
    - Came home after 9 days, wanted to start bike before working on it: 9.87V (relay vibrating sound)
    - Worked on bike, bike on charger these 4 days, started without problem, even in short bursts. Resting voltage 12.8V (but now it is 12.7)
    -Got new batteryat the 4th day, charged it for 24h at low charging current, added extra ground wire, starts without a problem.

    So that's kind of where I'm right now.
    The only thing that is wired to the bike is the relay, rest starts at "accessory on".
     
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