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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
[I searched for threads here of people having the same issue, but didn't find quite the same thing... I did find some info that makes me think my problem is with the stator, but I also found some that makes me think there's a problem with the reg/rect.]


I've just recently bought a 2009 TW200 with about 1,000 miles. This is my first motorcycle and I'm super excited about riding. Unfortunately, I'm having some issues with the charging system.


The first day that I took it out for a ride of any significant distance, the battery went dead. I was going to some different places and stopping and then starting the bike, and if I recall correctly, it worked for about 4 or so starts. Then was dead. The lights all went very dim. I got a new battery. I rode less time to test it, and it appeared the battery was not getting charged correctly. I charged up the battery off the bike immediately after that ride.

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So, I read the service manual and started testing. Here are the related pages:

(dang,.. because this is my first post, I can't post links/images. For those with the 1987 manual, it's pages 7-27 through 7-30.)

I believe there are some slight differences between this 1987 manual and my 2009 bike. The fuses are in different locations, and maybe the resistance spec for the stator is different(?).

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My troubleshooting results:

1 - FUSES - . I replaced both the fuses. They're ok. Problem still happens.

2 - BATTERY - I'm all but certain the battery is ok. I just got a new one. It holds a charge well. I know it's fine in every way except that I haven't gotten it load tested. I've been careful with the new battery not to discharge it much. I've ridden it once, and not for very far/long, it did get discharged some, but not entirely (I don't recall the voltage, it didn't go all that low, maybe 12.5v, and I recharged it as soon as I got home. It stays up around 12.9v or so. It can start the bike at least a few times in a row without issues.

3 - CHARGING VOLTAGE TEST - Here's where things start to get weird. When I start the bike up cold, the battery voltage goes up to about 13.1v at idle, and 14.0v when revved. It is consistent and steady at those levels. As the bike warms up (I haven't timed it, but I think this starts happening after about 4 minutes), the voltage starts fluctuating and going down. After a couple minutes, it gets down to around 11.9 volts and sits there. If I turn on the brights, it goes down a little bit, but not much, maybe to 11.8. If I turn off the bike and start it up again right away, the voltage is still low. The rectifier/regulator does not get hot.

4 - CHARGING COIL RESISTANCE - I checked resistance at the connector near the reg/rect. It is 0.7 to 1 ohm between all three of the non-ground wires (at maybe 60 degrees F ambient temp). I have been confused about this not being right at the 0.3-0.5 ohm spec, although I did see someone write on another post here that newer TW200 stators are specced at a resistance closer to my test results.


So - does anyone have experience with an issue like this - of the charging working fine while cold but then dropping off pretty quickly?


Additional Info:

I haven't yet tested diode continuity of the reg/rect. Should I do that?

I do have a multimeter with a clamp for testing amps (without needing to break circuits). I haven't tested this much other than one time right after starting cold, and there were 2 amps going into the battery. Is there other testing I should do with it?

The lights/horn, etc. went out (got very dim) on that first long ride with the older battery. I haven't ever noticed flickering of lights, or any dimming and then getting bright.
 

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Question did you charge up the new battery first before you put it in? You charged it later off the bike so that is good. It sounds like you did the correct thing in changing batteries. Why do you think the new battery is not charging now? Once a battery is full the voltage regulator will reduce the voltage so as to not over charge. From what you describe the regulator seems to be working properly.

So a fully charged rested battery will read @12.7v. 3/4 full @ 12.5v. 11.5v fully discharged.
The regulator needs to put in a higher voltage to charge up to 14.3 V. As the battery gets full it will drop to a lower voltage.

If the charging seems to be erratic I would check for poor ground connections.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Hello, Tweaker.

Question did you charge up the new battery first before you put it in? You charged it later off the bike so that is good. It sounds like you did the correct thing in changing batteries. Why do you think the new battery is not charging now? Once a battery is full the voltage regulator will reduce the voltage so as to not over charge. From what you describe the regulator seems to be working properly.

So a fully charged rested battery will read @12.7v. 3/4 full @ 12.5v. 11.5v fully discharged.
The regulator needs to put in a higher voltage to charge up to 14.3 V. As the battery gets full it will drop to a lower voltage.

I did not charge the new battery before putting it on the bike. I didn't have a multimeter at the time so I'm not even sure what the voltage was. It started the bike up just fine. I do think the battery is ok because it starts the bike up ok, it doesn't seem to get drained quickly, and it holds a charge when sitting.

I don't think the battery is charging (other than during the first 5 minutes), because:
  • The first battery went dead while riding
  • After the bike has warmed up, voltage at the battery drops to what I think is too low. (One time I recall it going to 12.2v, and another time to less than 12).
  • Being down at about 12.0v (and sometimes less) while warmed up and idling, means (I believe), that the battery is losing charge.
  • If I turn the bike off shortly after that voltage drop occurs, the battery voltage goes back up to ~12.9v. (because it was getting charged at 14v and then only discharged a small amount of time at ~12v).
  • If I ride the bike (or, if I were to let it sit idling), the lights drain the battery over time. Happened with the old battery (to dead), and with the new battery (partially, as I was concerned and rode for less time, when I got home from that ride, I put the battery on a charger and it was taking significant amps).

If the charging seems to be erratic I would check for poor ground connections.
I wouldn't describe it as erratic. When started cold, it is consistent at 13.1v at idle and 14v when revved. When it starts decreasing, there are some fluctuations. The decreasing starts about about 3 minutes after starting the bike, and takes about one minute. After that, it gets stable at the low voltage.

Edit - after the voltage has decreased, it is steady while idling, but when I rev the engine, it moves around. Up to as high as 13.5v and as low as 10.5. (those both being very brief readings)
 

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+1 for loose ground. Would explain erratic behavior. Mine was my own fault I didn’t tighten the regulator/rectifier fasteners. Within five rides my battery was flat til I found my mistake. Good thing these things bump start easily when they’re warm. Or have a kickstarter.

OP gave nice summary and did good diagnostics.
 

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Falcon the key is to test the battery voltage after resting(1hr) and nothing on or running. If is near12.7v your battery is charged. The low readings you are getting while idling are because the headlight and other lights are putting a load on the batttery causing a drop while the magneto is not putting out any charge. This is normal and one good reason not to let the bike idle too longe as it is not charging at low rpms., only discharging due to the loads. As you noticed the voltage goes up when you rev the motor and now it is charging. The factory recommended idle rpm is @1509-1800rpm probably to provide a charge and also to give oil pressure o the head for lubrication and cooling while idleing. I never set my idle this high but also never let it idle long even to warm up.

I think you are worrying about a good new battery and it is ok.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
I will investigate the grounding. At this point, I know nothing about grounding on this bike (just basic understanding that systems are grounded and stuff). If there's a certain place to look or way to check, I'd love input on it. I will, of course, take a look at the manual.


Falcon the key is to test the battery voltage after resting(1hr) and nothing on or running. If is near12.7v your battery is charged. The low readings you are getting while idling are because the headlight and other lights are putting a load on the batttery causing a drop while the magneto is not putting out any charge.
Yes, the battery holds a charge well. I've checked it numerous times and it stays up over 12.8v after sitting for hours.

So, my concern is that the stator/magneto (or reg/rect) seems to entirely stop output after it's warmed up. (Voltage drops down to 12.0v or less - that is both at idle, and it no matter how much I rev the engine - other than that sometimes the voltage starts jumping around - both up and down, but in total/average, does not actually go up). That's not normal, is it? I would think that it should continue working like right after I start the bike cold, and stay around 13v at idle, and go up to ~14v when revved. Right?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So, I checked the ground cables on the reg/rect (yep, the one you have showed in the pic, Badgerflorida), and from the battery to the engine. It was tight already on the reg/rect and I re-tightened it. I took the terminal off the engine for inspection. It looked good, but I cleaned it up a bit more and put it back.

I started it to test again. I got a bit different results. I did also disconnect the headlight to test with the system under less load. After about 5-6 minutes, the voltage drop did not happen as it had been before. Voltage was holding very steady at 14.1v at idle (and not increasing with revs). I plugged the light back in. Voltage stayed at 14v at idle. After about 4 more minutes, the voltage dropped to ~12.2 and stayed steady there at idle or revs. I unplugged the light. It didn't change anything. I checked amps through on the battery positive cable with the clamp. Zero. I tried turning on the high-beam and turn signals. The amps jumped around a little bit (up to maybe 0.4) and went back to zero. I think that this time, in the long run, the battery was pretty stable around 12.3 or 12.4 volts.

During this test I ran the bike for longer in total than the others - about 13 minutes, mostly idling (about 8 minutes of that at 14.1v, and then the rest at ~12.3). Now, after sitting maybe 15 minutes the battery is at 12.85v. So it certainly did not get discharged much.

An update to what I wrote before - the reg/rect. is indeed getting hot. Probably too hot to be able to hold my hand on. I'd guess that is normal, given it has the cooling fins.

So... I'm maybe even more confused.

  • Maybe there was a ground issue and it's (a little) better now?
  • Maybe the headlight getting hot or being on is related? (though I doubt that).
  • Maybe it's just normal for the battery volts to go down low after a while and it's all ok? (though I doubt this, because I don't think that should happen at zero amperage, and I expect the system to keep the battery around 13v or more, and if I stop and re-start the bike - creating a condition where the battery could really use some re-charging, it doesn't happen and the voltage just stays low). Can someone confirm what I should expect to see here? Should it stay up at 13/14v when warm?
I may just go for a long-ish ride tomorrow, and see what happens.
 

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Ride it for a while and if the battery won’t start the bike or drops below 12.5v then you have a problem. I say a gain what you are seeing is normal regulator behavior. When you start the bike is draws a little power out of the battery your magneto will replace it quickly after it does the voltage will drop again. If the idle is low the voltage will be nil and the load ie lights will drop it @12v. Wait and see if you have a problem with THIS battery. You keep saying the voltage is good so no problem. Don’t worry about the voltage jumping around unless the battery is losing voltage after riding not idleing.
 
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thank you, Tweaker.

Tomorrow I will: check the battery voltage, go for a 30-minute or so ride, and check the voltage after the battery has sat a little while (if it doesn't go dead on the ride)

- - - - - - - - - - -

The thing that concerns me is that, after it's all warm and the voltage drops (to, say, 12.3v), if I stop and re-start the bike, the voltage goes right back to 12.3v, it never goes up at all to recharge the battery after it ran the starter.

Just now I went out, after the bike had sat for 10-15 minutes after running. The regulator had cooled down a lot, and the engine/magneto was still pretty hot. This time, after starting it, the voltage went up to 14, but dropped after one minute.

So, the times to voltage drop are:
  • When starting from cold: ~6-10 minutes
  • When hot, then turned off for 15 minutes and started (with the regulator pretty cool, and the stator still pretty hot): 1 minute.
  • When hot, turned off, and immediately started: immediate
IDK if that even matters, but it seems interesting to me. This makes me think there may be an issue with the stator.

Anyways, I'll see what happens with the riding test tomorrow.
 

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NO you are over thinking this. I think it is all normal. Just go ride. You are all worries because of the bad or not maintained original battery. And are now learning about lead acid batteries and motorcycle charging systems.
 
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You definitely have a charging problem. Get it warmed up to the point where voltage starts to drop and check the AC voltage at the stator. If the AC voltage at the stator is good and all your connections are good your rectifier/regulator are defective.
 

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4 - CHARGING COIL RESISTANCE - I checked resistance at the connector near the reg/rect. It is 0.7 to 1 ohm between all three of the non-ground wires (at maybe 60 degrees F ambient temp). I have been confused about this not being right at the 0.3-0.5 ohm spec, although I did see someone write on another post here that newer TW200 stators are specced at a resistance closer to my test
I haven't yet tested diode continuity of the reg/rect. Should I do that?
1. Routine maintenance: thoroughly check all charging related connections, including both ends of both battery cables and regulator connections.

2. Check battery voltage, engine 2000 RPMs plus. Normal is 13.8 to 14.8. If too high, regulator is at fault. Too low, then check stator.

3. Three phase stator should be ~1/3 ohm, phase to phase, white wire to white wire...if meter is calibrated to zero with probes pressed together firmly...and when testing, with probes making solid contact. Each phase to ground must be open circuit/no continuity/infinity. I do not have a manual for reference, but it should advise AC voltage per 1,000 RPMs.

4. If above checks good, replace regulator. If regulator is warm, when rest of bike is cold, replace regulator.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
NO you are over thinking this. I think it is all normal. Just go ride. You are all worries because of the bad or not maintained original battery. And are now learning about lead acid batteries and motorcycle charging systems.
I really can't see this being normal. Are you really saying that it's ok for the battery voltage be down at 12.4v (and over time, less) while the bike is running and revved up? I know enough about batteries to know that it will be ruined pretty quickly if I ride the bike like this.

When that's happening (not charging), if I disconnect the wire connector at the reg/rect, the voltage doesn't change at all. Obviously, there is a problem. At that point, the charging system is not even providing or making up for the electrical loads of the lights (and this is with the headlight disconnected to reduce loads).

- - - - - - - - - -

Here's what I've done so far today:

First off:
I started the bike up cold and right off the bat there was no charging. It's the first time I saw that happen. I stopped and started the bike a couple more times and it wasn't charging. All with everything pretty cool. When I started it a couple hours later, also while cool, it acted as before (charged at 14 volts for a while, then after about 5 minutes, dropped off to no charging at all).



The testing:

STATOR VOLTAGE:
I tested the AC voltage from the stator right after starting first thing in the morning: I remember it being about 20v for each combination at idle and increasing with revs.
Later, I started the bike and the charging system worked for a while, and then it stopped working as the bike warmed up. The stator output after it warmed up and when the charging system wan't working was ~27v at each phase combination, increasing with revs to about 60v.

I'm thinking this means the stator voltage is ok.



RECTIFIER Continuity/Diode test:

Results of testing while cold (and when the charging system was working:

MM red on R.R. ground // MM black on each of the phase inputs = 0.5
MM black on R.R. ground // MM red on each of the phase inputs = O.L.

MM red on R.R. red wire // MM black on each of the phase inputs = O.L.
MM black on R.R. red wire // MM red on each of the phase inputs = 0.5

(MM = Multimeter lead.. RR=Rectifier/regulator)



While warm (and after the charging system stopped working)

MM red on R.R. ground // MM black on each of the phase inputs = 0.4
MM black on R.R. ground // MM red on each of the phase inputs = O.L.

MM red on R.R. red wire // MM black on each of the phase inputs = O.L.
MM black on R.R. red wire // MM red on each of the phase inputs = 0.4

I don't recall the exact numbers for this test when hot, but they were closer to 0.4 than 0.5.

They definitely went down some, and all about the same amount. Is that a problem?


I'm not sure what to do next. I think I'll try to inspect and maybe clean the wire connections. I haven't done that thoroughly yet. I can't tell where some of the wires are going, so I'll have to study the wiring diagram.
 

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I really can't see this being normal. Are you really saying that it's ok for the battery voltage be down at 12.4v (and over time, less) while the bike is running and revved up? I know enough about batteries to know that it will be ruined pretty quickly if I ride the bike like this.

When that's happening (not charging), if I disconnect the wire connector at the reg/rect, the voltage doesn't change at all. Obviously, there is a problem. At that point, the charging system is not even providing or making up for the electrical loads of the lights (and this is with the headlight disconnected to reduce loads).

- - - - - - - - - -

Here's what I've done so far today:

First off:
I started the bike up cold and right off the bat there was no charging. It's the first time I saw that happen. I stopped and started the bike a couple more times and it wasn't charging. All with everything pretty cool. When I started it a couple hours later, also while cool, it acted as before (charged at 14 volts for a while, then after about 5 minutes, dropped off to no charging at all).



The testing:

STATOR VOLTAGE:
I tested the AC voltage from the stator right after starting first thing in the morning: I remember it being about 20v for each combination at idle and increasing with revs.
Later, I started the bike and the charging system worked for a while, and then it stopped working as the bike warmed up. The stator output after it warmed up and when the charging system wan't working was ~27v at each phase combination, increasing with revs to about 60v.

I'm thinking this means the stator voltage is ok.



RECTIFIER Continuity/Diode test:

Results of testing while cold (and when the charging system was working:

MM red on R.R. ground // MM black on each of the phase inputs = 0.5
MM black on R.R. ground // MM red on each of the phase inputs = O.L.

MM red on R.R. red wire // MM black on each of the phase inputs = O.L.
MM black on R.R. red wire // MM red on each of the phase inputs = 0.5

(MM = Multimeter lead.. RR=Rectifier/regulator)



While warm (and after the charging system stopped working)

MM red on R.R. ground // MM black on each of the phase inputs = 0.4
MM black on R.R. ground // MM red on each of the phase inputs = O.L.

MM red on R.R. red wire // MM black on each of the phase inputs = O.L.
MM black on R.R. red wire // MM red on each of the phase inputs = 0.4

I don't recall the exact numbers for this test when hot, but they were closer to 0.4 than 0.5.

They definitely went down some, and all about the same amount. Is that a problem?


I'm not sure what to do next. I think I'll try to inspect and maybe clean the wire connections. I haven't done that thoroughly yet. I can't tell where some of the wires are going, so I'll have to study the wiring diagram.
I don't see where you performed the test you were asked to? Maybe you just missed the simplicity of it?:D 1: Run the bike around a bit for half hour. 2: let bike sit for 20 minutes. 3: Test battery voltage before starting it again. 4: Report your findings here.




Tom
 

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"I don't see where you performed the test you were asked to? Maybe you just missed the simplicity of it?:D 1: Run the bike around a bit for half hour. 2: let bike sit for 20 minutes. 3: Test battery voltage before starting it again. 4: Report your findings here."


And what exactly is that going to prove?



Falcon it sounds like your stator is ok. With that kind of AC voltage you should have good DC voltage at the red wire of the regulator. The diodes might be ok in the RR but the voltage regulator part of it might be dumping the output to ground like when the charging voltage is up and there is no load. If you have good charging voltage at the red RR wire but not at the battery I would think you have a bad connection at the main fuse or the splice where the red wire splits to the main fuse and the ignition switch. If you have low voltage coming out of the RR red wire then change the regulator.
 

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Re post 15, mid-point of item 3:

Each phase to ground must be open circuit/no continuity/infinity.

Did you check that no phase is grounded?

Did you check immediately after output was less than 13.8 volts?
 
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