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August 6th, 2011, 08:00 AM   #1
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Battery seems to get sluggish over time, alternator problem?

Hi all, my battery seems to be loosing charge over time. I wondered whether I had an alternator problem (i.e. battery is not getting charged while running)?

Is there a method to check this?

Maybe coincidentally, my front lights have just stopped working too (have an Acerbis diamond headlight unit), I've took a good look at the wiring but can't see any issues.

Any help/suggestions would be appreciated?

Thanks

Crispin
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August 6th, 2011, 12:08 PM   #2
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Re: Battery seems to get sluggish over time, alternator prob

crispin,
you should have 14+ volts across the battery posts with engine running if the charging system is working normally, if you dont have a battery tester a lot of autoparts stores do free battery/charging system tests and could easily be done in there parking lot
you could also do a battery load test just to see if ther battery is going, when loaded (with battery tester tool) voltage should not drop below 10+- volts, it should settle at a voltage while loaded after a few seconds, just load it for 10-15 seconds max, if battery is on its way aleady tho it may not e-start right after this load test, would still bump or jump start. usually you know within 5 or so seconds

another thing that could be checked for would be an abnormal draw on the electrical system with key off, to do battery draw test, remove the negative battery cable and place, volt meter on milliamps setting, inline with neg bat cable, it should be i would guess on a bike, zero milliamps, i have never tested a bike for this to know but
an auto would be normal to see 10-35 milliamps depending how many computers the vehicle has with keep alive memory, if it were excessive i would start disconnecting electrical components untill it went away, whatever was unplugged and made the draw go away would be the likely component or could be a short circuit somewhere too, would probebly be obvious wire damage if was a circuit problem.

i have left my key on for days before and came out and hit the button and started like i just turned it on so i would guess there should be zero draw, if there were much draw at all it would need jump starting evertime you left it for a few hours or overnight for sure, if thats not the case probably dont even need to do that test
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August 6th, 2011, 10:13 PM   #3
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Re: Battery seems to get sluggish over time, alternator prob

ok so i changed my mind on the charging system test, i was just tearing things apart for new tires, valve adjust, etc. tested the battery before i got to far....

with no lights, fans or additional loads on system other then just engine running, my old 600 on cold start had a battery voltage of 12.6v before the start, dropped to 11ish volts at the time of the start when pressing button (1-2 seconds) and once engine running at idle was only around 12.4 and just by flicking the throttle up to maybe 3-4000rpm then voltage spike up to 14.85v,

at rpms just off idle (enough throttle to let the clutch out and take off very slow) was only 13v or so, i would anticipate any time you were driving even at a slow rpm system output would be 13.5v-low14v range

due to your machine having a newer style stator then my early sem coil, these results could be irrelevent, non the less hope this helps
bergini...
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August 7th, 2011, 04:42 AM   #4
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Re: Battery seems to get sluggish over time, alternator prob

Thanks Bergini, I think I may have a lead (excuse the pun), as to whats going on.

I charged the battery up & got little Hussa started, headed off to Lancashire this morning no problem. When I went through Birkenhead tunnel I noticed my lights were back on....? So thought, "Oh well, must have been a dodgy connection, and taking it all apart & putting it back together again has fixed it".

Stopped for fuel, & when I cam to start it again, got a really sluggish "errummmm, errummmm", then just "click, click" as if all of the juice was zapped again....

I stood & scratched my head for a minute & decided to switch the lights off & try again.

Bingo, fired up in a millisecond & sounded as strong as an Ox (if an Ox can sound strong). Now though the lights have stopped working again when the bikes running.

So.... do you think I have some sort of "short circuit"? I must confess I'm not the best with electrics. I have a voltmeter however, and carried out "continuity tests"? (if their called that... ), using the audible setting to check there was no breaks in the wires in-between the light switch wires on the handle bars & the back of the bulbs on the head lights, and that worked fine..?

I'm not sure what to do next, I can at least run the bike, but I can't go out in the evening

Any tips or advice on how I can resolve?

Thanks in advance

Crispin
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August 7th, 2011, 08:14 PM   #5
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Re: Battery seems to get sluggish over time, alternator prob

hhhhhhmmmm.... ok so i think when you say audible you where checking for power or voltage at the headlight connector, and there was power there making it beep because you had the other end grounded.....this would indicate that on the power wires the circuit is working like it should.....you will still need to check the ground circuit, the test you ran only proves continuity through the power wires, (because you created a short circuit to ground with the tester, it only showed you power at the point right before the bulb)

to check the ground circuit, you would connect the same tester on voltage setting to a power source, battery positive or otherwise, and when you hear the chime it means the ground is good, if you have power and ground at the headlight connector that would indicate a bad bulb, if no ground is found you must find out why,

if what your saying is your headlights are coming on and off at random with the switch off then i would say that i think you have a shorted circuit, if the switch is on and they just go off and on at random i would think an open or broken circuit, if you are saying that the lights work when the engine is off and as soon as you start it the lights quit working then i would think vibration from engine is causing a poor connection??

i would still start by checking the easiest before you get to worried, you could have a border line battery and it simply is not holding a charge and the lights are enough to cause insufiecient power to start, after you shut off the lights then voltage comes back up enough to turn the strarter,

i would try a "wiggle test" or all wiring with engine on or off to see they flicker or come on when you get to a particular section of wiring, also id pull the bulb just to make sure its good, also when your checking you power and ground at the headlight flip the switch back and forth and moniter the change for high and low beam

and definatly check the bulb, sometimes the filaments burn out and just hang there and cross to the other filament and could make it work and not work too, they could also short the high to the low beam and draw more power than normal, usually resulting in a burned out bulb shortly after

or you may have a combination of problems, weak battery and burned out headlight bulb or shorted wiring

good luck, if you find out any more info but still dont find the problem, give me a very acurate desription of the complete problem from top to bottom and precisly what you have tested and ill ponder it some more, i am an auto technician and like to think i am quite good with wiring but i aslo usually have a really great schematic, these bikes wiring are very easy compared to some of the new cars with bus networks and 32 computers, 110 switches, and another 60 sensors etc. usually even if you dont know wiring really good and dont have a schematic, just following the basics and thinking through all your tests youll find it eventually...another tip would be to record the results of what you have tested, keeps you from testing thinks twice and/or forgetting you test results, also gives you "known good" data if something else fails later
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August 8th, 2011, 01:11 PM   #6
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Re: Battery seems to get sluggish over time, alternator prob

Thanks for that, I'll take a look tomorrow evening & let you know.

Cheers

Crispin
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August 13th, 2011, 01:31 PM   #7
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Re: Battery seems to get sluggish over time, alternator prob

Hi, I think I have followed the test instructions OK. I've attached a photo schematic showing where the voltmeter pins were placed. When this was done I got the voltmeter beep, so does this mean the earth circuit has been tested now & is OK?

Not sure what to do next. Have tried changing the bigger bulbs out, (don't have one of the smaller ones), could this be a possible reason for all the bulbs still not to work?? (surely they are in parallel & not series)?

p.s. meant to say, since I've been starting the bike with the head lights switched to "off" the battery sounds really strong, and it fires up no problem. When the bikes is running, however, & I switch the lights to "on", I don't have any lights any more.

Thanks

Crispin
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August 13th, 2011, 02:20 PM   #8
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Re: Battery seems to get sluggish over time, alternator prob

Sounds like you got a short, dude.

Visually check thy earths and anywhere where wires pass through the frame bits. Have you taken the switch apart to have a gander? Sometimes the wires in there can melt together.

Electrical probs are a pain, but usually a simple fix - its just findin the problem thats the bugger
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August 13th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #9
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Re: Battery seems to get sluggish over time, alternator prob

Cheers mate, yea took the switch off the handle bars & looked at the back, looks... OK (I haven't got a clue what I'm looking at if I'm honest LOL), wires are soldered in position & secure, but the actual switching mechanism appears to be enclosed within the plastic unit (soldered wires on the underside), which I don't think comes apart.

I'll try & follow all of the wires through from end to end & see if I can spot it. So a "short" will be one of the wires contacting the frame, or each other (exposed wires), OK, this I'll look out for.

Cheers

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August 13th, 2011, 02:56 PM   #10
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Re: Battery seems to get sluggish over time, alternator prob

You'll know if the wires are touchin in the switch cos it'll be a right mess. I had the same prob on a ccm and all the wires had fused together- it was like one big thick wire.

I know the wires that go to the headlight bulb actually touch the frame on mine, well they used to! Sorted it before it became a problem. Check the back light wires too.

You'll find it in the end fella
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