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Discussion Starter #1
Last riding season I had some electrical issues. I finally replaced the regulator/rectifier and battery and later took the bike to my Yamaha dealer who replaced some faulty wiring and finally seemed to get things sorted out. All was fine for the rest of the summer and fall.



But now I'm finally getting back on the bike this spring (well... if you can call this spring, we've had a really late spring here in Idaho this year, lots of rain and cold days, not great for riding). Today I took the bike for about a 15-mile trip across town. Coming out of a store I got back on and found the electric starter would crank, but not fire the engine. (Thank God my '93 still has a kick starter! I can't believe you guys with newer bikes ride without one!). After kick starting, the bike runs fine, though the turn signals are weak, signs the battery is drained. By the time I got home, the starter would not crank at all.



Best I can figure, the lights are draining the battery as I ride and the charging system isn't charging the battery. I can put the battery on a float charger at home and it recharges, but take it out for a ride and the battery will drain.



Where would you start to run down this problem? (Don'tcha just hate electrical issues??! -
)
 

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Hey Truelight,



Sorry to hear about the recurring electrial gremlins.



Here's a couple of places and things to check before a more thorough in-depth check is needed. i.e. this is what I would check first if it was mine.



There is a lot more to check than what I'm about to mention, but it's a starting point.



1) Battery terminals clean? On mine, I have to clean them 2-3 times a year because of corrosion. Even though you are hooking up a battery charger and it charges the battery, you could still be having a poor connection.



2) Check Battery electrolyte level in each cell. Even with a newer battery, this could still be an issue. I had low levels occasionally. I would re-fill cells and charge the battery. Battery showed proper charge level at first then die out. Over time it worsened and the culprit ended up being a bad battery. And the battery was only a year or two old.



3) Check voltage. If you have a voltmeter or multimeter, check voltage on the battery terminals both prior to starting and after it's running. Voltage should be over 13 when running. If your not getting 13v at battery terminals, then place voltmeter leads into the wires leading to the terminals. If your getting at least 13v, it's charging but the battery isn't taking or holding the charge.



These basic checks can rule in or out the battery and/or terminals.



If all above is ok, with the history of faulty wiring, you could then start tracing bad wiring by conducting ohms checks at point A and B of a particular wire.



These are some of the things I would start with prior to checking the more in-depth items, (battery load test, stator, rectifier/regulator).



Again, I can offer help if you want and check things out for you.



Kris
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good tips ! I will try these things when I have time to spend with the bike. They all sound within the scope of my -limited- skills.




Hows the paint job going on your bike? I'll be anxious to see the results. You have me seriously thinking about trying a vinyl wrap. Doesn't loo prohibitively expensive and if I screw it up, I can always tear it all off again, huh?



Let me know if you'd like to meet for lunch one day and we can chat about out respective projects.
 

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What kind of battery did you buy last year? If it's an AGM or VRLA they must be put on a charger and fully charged before first use or they will prematurely fail and not hold a full charge ever again, after you start the bike only a few times. The guys in the battery stores don't tell you that, they just tell you to hook it up and you're ready to go. YOU must fully charge it first and not rely on them having done it. That's on a 2 amp charger, like overnight. Charge up your battery now and get it load tested to see if it's any good. If it sat over the cold winter and wasn't periodically charged or on a trickle charger, it may have gotten deeply discharged and may not recover and hold a charge. A fully charged battery at rest should read 12.6-12.8V, and you could do your own load test by connecting a volt meter and hitting the starter button and seeing how low it drops. If it goes down to or below 10-11V, it's probably shot.
 

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A 2 amp/hour charge rate is way to much for a TW battery. Batteries need to be charged at a rate no more than 1/20 their rated capacity. The TW battery is rated at 7 amp/hour. 2 amp/hour could easily cause the electrolyte to boil, releasing hydrogen gas that is extremely dangerous.



Maximum charge rate should be 0.35 amp/hour, or 350 milliamp/hour. I use a charger intended for radio control models that allows setting charge rate, voltage, battery type, and time.



A less expensive option is a Hobbico 12V charger for sealed batteries used to power electric starters for model airplanes. Output is 120 milliamp/hour. Costs about $12. Cut the plug off and solder on alligator clips. Charge rate is low enough little worry about overcharging, but it is not automatic so don't just leave it hooked up all the time.



If you have a bunch of old wall warts around, see if you have one with a 12 volt output at 350 milliamps or less. Output should be written on each one. They make dandy motorcycle battery chargers for the cost of a pair of alligator clips. They probably won't put a complete charge on a battery, but they'll put enough of a charge to make it run.



Anywho, back to the OP. How was this battery stored all winter? Did you leave it in the bike in a cold shed? If so, I'd consider death by neglect a likely scenario. If you kept it warm and charged all winter I'd suspect the dealer repaired your wiring with crimp terminals and one of them isn't making contact, because crimp terminals are a sorry excuse for lazy technicians. If there are crimp terminals used for repair, replace with twist, solder, and shrink tube. Other than that, I'd check all wire connections for cleanliness, as stated a couple posts up.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK...here's the problem "by the numbers..."



Using a voltmeter --



Battery with key off - 12.36 V



Battery with Key on / lights on, engine not running - 11.55 V



Battery when starter is cranked - 10.55 V



Battery with engine running at idle - 11.85 V



Battery with Engine revved - 13.5 V



So... what does this mean? The other day when I took the bike for a 30-minute ride it would crank the starter but not fire the engine when I came out of a store to ride home. (Thank goodness for the kick starter!). By the time I got home, the starter would not crank at all. Leaving the bike plugged in to my cheap Harbor Freight float charger brought it back to 12.6V by the next day and the bike turned over and started just fine. This is a new battery just bought last year and it was on the float charger all winter. I started it several times over the winter and it always started fine. It's a ride (with the headlight on) that seems to drain the battery. I checked the fluid levels - all good, and the connections, all clean.



Any thoughts on why the bike isn't keeping the battery charged when taking it for a ride?
 

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Take a look at your ground cable where it attaches to the regulator mounting bolt.



That aluminum-to-copper-to-steel connection can get a little funky. Shine it all up.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Take a look at your ground cable where it attaches to the regulator mounting bolt.



That aluminum-to-copper-to-steel connection can get a little funky. Shine it all up.


I'll take a look at that. Unfortunately, this is a '93 and I would not be surprised at all if it spent time sitting outside in the weather for many of those years. The wiring and connectors are kinda crusty and I've been cleaning them up as I can. Completely re-wiring the bike would probably do it a world of good, though that's a bit beyond my level of expertise.



In my experience, it's not wear and tear that kills motorcycles, it's letting them sit and "rot" from neglect. (I guess that's true of people too though, huh?
)
 

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Seafoam Deep Creep. Expensive, but readily softens corrosion of wire connectors. Use sparingly--a little goes a long way. Q-tips loosen corrosion after a bit of a soak in Deep Creep. Rinse with Deep Creep. Reassemble with electrolytic grease to prevent future corrosion. Do a few connections each time you twiddle with the bike. Won't be long before all your connections are clean and tight, and most electricsal problems will be prevented.
 

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What he said. I buy the larger squeeze tubes of dielectric grease rather than those tiny little thangs. The cap opening is large enough to "dip"" a male connector into. So you can kinda point the tube into tight spots where the wires are short, grab the end of a wire, dip and reconnect.
 

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Rick,



Keep checking what has been mentioned by the others. In the mean time, I want to rule out the possibility of a bad battery. I don't think this is the problem, but want to be certain. My TW is not yet back together, so let me stop by with my battery and see if your TW does the same thing with my battery in.



*******This is a call out to other TW's, my TW is not back together or I would do the following myself. If you have a multimeter, can you perform the same tests as Truelight did and see if the numbers are relatively the same. If you will, provide me (us) with the results. Thanks



Battery Voltage with key off - ?

Battery Voltage with Key on / lights on, engine not running - ?

Battery Voltage when starter is cranked - ?

Battery Voltage with engine running at idle - ?

Battery Voltage with Engine revved - ?



********



A couple of the readings are giving me some concern.



1)Battery Voltage with key on prior to starting. In my opinion, the voltage should still be above 12v.

2)The difference in voltage from idle to high revving. Even at idle, I would think it should be charging over 12v. Should the spread between idle voltage reading and revving it up, be this much?



Seems like the electrical system is charging, but not regulating the charge.



********



Rick, I can stop by any morning this week before either of us have to go to work (except tomorrow). Let me know and I will bring over my battery.
 

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Key off 12.00

Key on lights etc. 11.59

While starting 10.47

Engine running 12.56

High Idle 14.06



This battery I am sure was not maintained. This came with a bike I picked up a month or so ago and it was completely dead. Stored in a nasty old garage with little heat if any. Good luck
 

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Thanks Fishman393. First three readings are comparable too Truelights. Last two are what I would expect. And his engine idle voltage seems lower than what it should be.



Your Engine running voltage is what I would expect, above 12v and not below.



Everything has not be ruled out yet, but leaning towards the charging system. Gonna break out the manual and web sources and see exactly what to check.



Edit 9:15 P.M. ish, 2 May 2011:



Ok, did some research in Chap 7 (Elec). One thing I want to mention because I was confused for a while. **The CDI Unit is part of the ignition system and the CDI Magneto (Stator) is part of the charging system. I was confused between the similarity of terms.



Reference page 7-29 and 7-30 of the Main Mannual.



1) Anyway, not that this hasn't been checked already, but the manual says to check the continuty of the fuse coming from the battery lead, doesn't state which lead it's on.



2)Charging coil resistance test: disconnect CDI magneto leads (white and Yellow from the wireharness. (looks like this is up by the rectifier/regulator area). Use multimeter and check resistance with one tester lead in the white and the other in the yellow. Resistance should be 0.3 - 0.5 ohms. If out of specification, charging coil is faulty, replace stator assembly.



3)If within specifications, manual says to check entire system connections, which looks like what you are checking now.



4)If out of specifications, and connections/wiring is good, rectifier/regulator is faulty, replace it.



Hopes this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Fishman393. First three readings are comparable too Truelights. Last two are what I would expect. And his engine idle voltage seems lower than what it should be.



Your Engine running voltage is what I would expect, above 12v and not below.



Everything has not be ruled out yet, but leaning towards the charging system. Gonna break out the manual and web sources and see exactly what to check.



Edit 9:15 P.M. ish, 2 May 2011:



Ok, did some research in Chap 7 (Elec). One thing I want to mention because I was confused for a while. **The CDI Unit is part of the ignition system and the CDI Magneto (Stator) is part of the charging system. I was confused between the similarity of terms.



Reference page 7-29 and 7-30 of the Main Mannual.



1) Anyway, not that this hasn't been checked already, but the manual says to check the continuty of the fuse coming from the battery lead, doesn't state which lead it's on.



2)Charging coil resistance test: disconnect CDI magneto leads (white and Yellow from the wireharness. (looks like this is up by the rectifier/regulator area). Use multimeter and check resistance with one tester lead in the white and the other in the yellow. Resistance should be 0.3 - 0.5 ohms. If out of specification, charging coil is faulty, replace stator assembly.



3)If within specifications, manual says to check entire system connections, which looks like what you are checking now.



4)If out of specifications, and connections/wiring is good, rectifier/regulator is faulty, replace it.



Hopes this helps.


Admiral...



Thanks for the offer of your battery to test. We might do that to see what meter readings we get, but I'm not inclined to run the bike with your battery for long or you will wind up with a discharged battery. (And I'm thinking deep cycling is NOT especially good for these batteries).



Let me know when would be a good time to meet. I work weekedays from Noon - Five, but before then or on a weekend would work. I can also transport the bike back to your place on a weekend or one morning if need be.



Talk to ya soon...
 

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Maximum charge rate should be 0.35 amp/hour, or 350 milliamp/hour. I use a charger intended for radio control models that allows setting charge rate, voltage, battery type, and time.


Qwerty,



I have been using Battery Tenders on my motorcycles for the last couple of years. I think the motorcycle model charges at about 1 amp per hour before going into float mode. Is that too much?



Chip
 

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If you are putting out 13.5 V with the engine revving, your charging system is probably fine.

Your battery voltage at 12.36V at rest means your battery is DISCHARGED - only has about 60% of charge.

Probably your battery is kaput and won't accept a charge. It was stored improperly over the winter. You can try and charge it up again overnight, measure it again but more importantly a 1/2 hr. later to remove the "surface charge". If it accepts a full charge it should read 12.8V at rest.

If it comes up to that level, either measure it again when you hit the starter or bring it in to a shop and have it load tested, and, like I said, make sure you fully charge up the new AGM or VRLA battery you buy BEFORE YOU USE IT FOR THE FIRST TIME.

I would bet anything that that's your problem and before you start ripping up the bike looking for something more exotic, check out the simple things first. Going over all the connections and cleaning and dielectric-greasing them, etc, etc, is always a good idea on an old bike, but will do absolutely nothing for you if you have a bad battery.
 

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Admiral...



Let me know when would be a good time to meet. I work weekedays from Noon - Five, but before then or on a weekend would work. I can also transport the bike back to your place on a weekend or one morning if need be.



Talk to ya soon...


I am off Wed and Thur, but have commitments Wed. Does Thursday about 9:00 a.m. sound ok. If so I will bring my battery.



Side note: for some reason, I am unable to connect to the TW200 forum from my home computer. Something happened about 3 days ago and its the only website I cannot connect. Of course it had to be this one! Anyway, if you quote a forum entry I have made, it gets sent to my email so I can read what you've said. Otherwise just email me. I think I will put out an S.O.S. on the internet problem in off-topics. Internet smart guys here can't figure it out. Searching the web hasn't helped either.
 

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Chip,



The TW battery is rated 8 amp/hour. Lead acid batteries should be charged at 1/20 their amp/hour rating. Therefore, a TW battery should be charged at 0.4 amp/hour.



Techically, it is okay to charge a lead acid battery up to 85% at 1/5 its amp/hour capacity, 85% to 95% at 1/10 its amp/hour capacity, and 95-100% at 1/20 its amp/hour capacity. There are automatic 3-stage chargers, but they are mega expensive. Fact is, a lead acid battery cannot be charged to slowly, but can be damaged by charging too quickly. It is also best that battery maintainers be put on timers so that they are powered only about an hour a day. That is more than enough to keep a battery charged, but not enough to overcharge the battery if the electronics die and the charger stays active, which is not uncommon. A charged battery really only needs a maintainer one day every couple weeks to stay good. Leaving a maintainer plugged up all the time is a waste of energy and a risk to the battery.



As for float charging, it is really nothing more than a very weak, constant charge. Automotive float chargers have rates that actually exceed the maximum charge rate for a TW battery. A float charge for a TW battery would be something like 0.08 amp/hour. Automotive float chargers generally charge at 0.5 to 1 amp/hour. If you can find a multi-stage charger with a 0.08 amp/hour or less float, go for it.
 

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That 6 amp charger is much too "strong" and will boil your battery. Get something with at most 1.25 amp output.
 
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